By Li Hai
Some Republicans in Congress have been too quick to exile former President Donald Trump, former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told Fox News on Tuesday.
“I think that Republicans on the Hill who are so quick to say President Trump doesn’t have a place in this party, they need to look at the numbers and why these new voters who aren’t typically Republican voters came to the party,” McEnany said in her first interview after she left the White House. “It’s because he offered economic hope and opportunity to a lot of people who did not have that.”
McEnany pointed out that Republicans should recognize that Trump got the highest percentage of the black vote of any Republican candidate in 20 years, and the highest percentage of the Hispanic vote in 16 years.
“[Trump] has made this party more inclusive, more expansive, more welcoming,” McEnany added.
McEnany also shared her impressions of Trump’s speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Sunday.
“Everything he said strikes at the very heart as to what made this movement pro-family, pro-worker. He changed the Republican Party forever.”
McEnany thought Trump “can do it again.” But whether Trump runs in 2024 or not, there are “some incredible men and women in our party” such as Govs. Ron DeSantis and Kristi Noem, who are “walking in the same kind of Trump ideology,” McEnany said.
She also mentioned former Vice President Mike Pence is a supporter of the Trump movement.
When asked why Trump didn’t start a new party, McEnany said that Trump “knows that for the betterment of his movement, fixing the Republican Party is the answer.”
McEnany suggested that Trump fixed the Republican Party when he brought Rust Belt Democrats to the party in 2016 by focusing on trade and protecting blue-collar workers.
“But there’s a push to go back to the status quo. There’s a push to exile him, to exile his movement,” McEnany continued. “But you know, my message to them is, let the people decide. There are 75 million incredible people, and they’ll decide the way this movement goes forward.”
Rep Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), one of the 17 lawmakers who voted to impeach Trump, publicly said Trump shouldn’t have a place in the Republican Party.
“I don’t believe that he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country,” Cheney said in a press conference last week.
Trump said in his CPAC speech that it was “good news” Cheney had been censured by her state GOP.
“So hopefully, they’ll get rid of her with the next election,” said Trump. “Get rid of ’em all.”
McEnany also talked about her experience on Jan. 6 in the White House.
“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.”
McEnany asserted that Trump holds no responsibility for the violence.
“I think Sen. Tim Scott said it best,” McEnany continued. “Those who hold responsibility are those who committed those heinous actions that we all condemn.”
McEnany pointed out that the rioters showed up at the Capitol before the end of Trump’s speech. “And then they did the exact opposite of what he said. He said march peacefully and patriotically. And they did the opposite.”
Fox News announced Tuesday that it had signed McEnany as a contributor to offer commentary on various network programs.
Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.
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