The attack on the U.S. Capitol took everyone by surprise. It was hardest on those closest to the action.
Trump’s former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany revealed she’d been “expecting peace” before violence broke out on Jan. 6, Fox News reported. McEnany described her emotions to Harris Falkner on “The Faulkner Focus” Tuesday.
“I think at the beginning of the day, before everyone went to the rally, everyone was expecting peace,” McEnany told the host. “We had been to hundreds of rallies — I’ve probably been to hundreds at this point, certainly many dozens — and they were nothing but peaceful events, and we expected that day to be the same,” she said in her first interview since leaving her former post.
“And then as those events transpired, it was disbelief, shock, somber, sad, horrified by the violence, and it was a very hard, difficult day in the White House, there is no doubt,” she said. McEnany recalled that her feelings were mirrored by everyone at the White House.
“A feeling that everyone felt, the — just completely condemning the actions of that day. Horrified and very somber,” she said. Shortly before a group of former President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol building, he had addressed the crowd.
McEnany said Trump had urged them to “march peacefully and patriotically, and they did the opposite.” What he said that day was not incitement in the legal definition, but political adversaries tried to blame him for the events anyway. Trump was impeached for a second time based on that claim and but was ultimately acquitted.
The attack was initially blamed for five deaths, including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick who early reports said succumbed to head injuries sustained during the attack. However, recent findings concluded that he was not struck in the head at all as previously reported, though his official cause of death still hasn’t been released.
It’s not that Sicknick’s death is any less tragic or that the attack on the Capitol was any less repugnant. However, the media’s jump to blame Trump and craft the narrative that a police officer died a violent death in the melee does point to the opportunism that shaped the way the events were covered and rehashed. This attack was awful, Sicknick’s death was tragic, but using these events as an excuse to silence, ban, and marginalize Trump’s supporters is unconscionable. It’s apparent McEnany’s emotions were the same as most Americans experienced as events unfolded — that is, except those who were eager to score political points.