Responding to questions about President Donald Trump’s message to the family of medical worker Breonna Taylor, she responded: “Our hearts go out to her. It was a horrible tragedy that happened.”
“Our hearts also are with the two police officers who were shot last night in the Louisville riots,” McEnany added.
Two Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officers were shot on Sept. 23 amid protests in the city’s downtown but sustained non-life-threatening injuries. Twenty-six-year-old suspect Larynzo Johnson was seen “firing a handgun at officers and running from the scene”, but was taken into custody by authorities after the shooting incident, NBC News reported.
The unrest in Louisville followed a Sept. 23 decision by a grand jury that justified the use of force by Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove on Taylor and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker, resulting in the medical worker’s death in March 2020. According to Walker, he heard people knocking but did not know who they were – prompting him to fire in self-defense. Only Detective Brett Hankinson, who fired several shots into Taylor’s apartment from the outside, was indicted.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron called the incident a tragedy but warned against acting on outrage during a press conference held after the grand jury’s announcement.
“Mob justice is not justice. Justice sought by violence is not justice. It just becomes revenge,” he said.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear appeared to share Cameron’s sentiments. In a video message posted on his Twitter, Beshear lamented seeing a non-violent way of expression go awry – in reference to the shooting of the two LMPD officers. He mentioned, “the answer to violence is never violence” and urged other Kentuckians to stay home and “make sure we don’t see any more violence tonight.”
During the White House press briefing, McEnany noted that there were reports of vandalism and arrests in Louisville. “The Trump administration urges calm and reminds those who wish to have their voices heard to do so peacefully,” she said, adding that the First Amendment guaranteed the right to peaceful protest.
The press secretary then referred to Cameron’s call to steer away from “mob justice” and contrasted it with a statement by CNN anchor Brianna Keilar: “I question the judgment of the Kentucky attorney general saying, ‘mob justice is not justice.’ He said it becomes revenge. ‘The mob’ and the president having said that if Joe Biden wins, the mob wins … we know this is very politically loaded language.”
McEnany called Keilar’s statement “outrageous” and “irresponsible”, saying that “we should never hear statements like that followed by … two police officers being shot.” The press secretary continued, “This has nothing to do with politics, it has everything to do with the value of human life and the safety and security of our American cities and across the country.”
Commenting on the shooting of the two LMPD officers, McEnany remarked, “we’ve seen our police officers come under fire in the line of duty. Our police officers deserve our respect and the violence that is being committed towards them … is outrageous.”
Ever since Trump became president in 2016, he has repeatedly condemned “fake news” CNN for its rhetoric against him—and rightly so. The network has been pointing its fingers at the president for the nightly Black Lives Matter “mostly peaceful” protests across the country—which are actually far from peaceful. (Related: CNN describes “mostly peaceful” riots as Kenosha burns in the background.)
McEnany is not the only White House press secretary that has lambasted CNN. In August 2018, her predecessor Sarah Huckabee Sanders got into a heated exchange with CNN’s Jim Acosta over Sanders’ refusal to answer if she believed that the news media is the enemy of the people. Acosta was eventually banned from the White House later that year—but not before Trump himself called him a “rude, terrible person.”