Media outlet Politico has taken quite a beating in recent weeks after a supposed bombshell report they did on President Trump’s alleged close ties to the Bank of China completely fell apart last month, and after they contradicted themselves in their rush to condemn President Trump’s touting of hydroxychloroquine for use as a possible Wuhan coronavirus treatment.
So you’d think with that in mind that their White House press corps reporter Ryan Lizza wouldn’t try a gotcha question on Kayleigh McEnany – especially knowing how well-prepared she is at responding to such questions, right?
Unfortunately for Lizza, that’s exactly what he did today, asking a ridiculously biased question in two different ways as to what death toll should be used as a metric for the American people to conclude that President Trump’s efforts at combating the virus was successful.
Here’s the transcript of their exchange, but make sure to watch the video below it – especially around the halfway point when McEnany drops him over his despicable attempt at rephrasing the question and then mic drops him shortly thereafter (bolded emphasis added by me):
Lizza: What does the White House view as having – by election day – what does the White House view as the number of dead Americans where you can say that we successfully defeated this pandemic? Is there a number?
McEnany: You know, every loss of life counts. We say 100,000, but like the President says, one death is something to be mourned. These 100,000 individuals have a face, the President takes this very seriously. It’s why he lowered the flag to half staff for three days, to remember these men and women. I think Dr. Birx said it best when she said that in their [original] estimates they had anywhere between 1.5 and 2.2 million people in the U.S. succumbing to the virus [if] we didn’t shut down the economy. The President made the very hard choice of shutting down the economy, so we avoided that extraordinary number.
One death is too many, we never want to see a single individual lose their life. But that being said, to be under significantly that high mark shows that the President did everything in his power and helped to make this number as low as humanly possible.
Lizza: When voters go to the polls in November, and they want to judge the President on his response to this pandemic, what is the number of dead Americans that they should tolerate where they can argue that “yes, he successfully defeated the pandemic?”
McEnany: I think you’re asking the wrong question, the right question is where did the data …
**Crosstalk here where Lizza snidely tells McEnany not to tell him whether or not he’s asking a right or wrong question**
McEnany: “… and I answered your question once but if you ask it twice it doesn’t make it any better of a question so I’ll respond in kind. I’ve given you one answer. I’ll continue to extrapolate upon that.”
And extrapolate upon her answer is exactly what she did for the next 45 seconds or so before turning to PBS journalist Yamiche Alcindor without giving Lizza another glance. Watch:
A reporter just repeatedly asked how many "dead Americans" we should "tolerate"?
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) May 26, 2020
As of this writing, Lizza has not commented on their back and forth but he did retweet this bogus interpretation of it from an LA Times journalist:
McEnany doesn't like or directly answer @RyanLizza's question, but she implies that anything less than 2.2 million deaths by November should be considered a success.
— Eli Stokols (@EliStokols) May 26, 2020
Except she actually did answer the question, which she was also right to criticize. She said in a nutshell that no death was acceptable.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out a couple of interesting side notes here, the first one being that this is not the first time a credentialed White House press corps reporter has tried a gotcha question on Wuhan virus death counts. The last one was back in late March when a reporter asked Trump during the daily coronavirus task force press briefings what number of deaths would be “acceptable” to him.
Also, Lizza is the boyfriend of Olivia Nuzzi, the New York Magazine “journalist” who asked Trump during a presser last month “If an American President loses more Americans over the course of 6 weeks than died in the entirety of the Vietnam War, does he deserve to be re-elected?”
I think we’ve found the journalistic equivalent of a Keystone cops duo here.