Former White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany has said she was shocked that the pro-Trump “Stop the Steal” rally on January 6 turned violent.
In her first interview since leaving the White House, McEnany told Fox News that she expected the rally for then-President Donald Trump to be peaceful, despite these events having a history of violence, and law-enforcement agencies having issued warnings about the event.
“I think at the beginning of the day, before everyone went to the rally, everyone was expecting peace,” McEnany said. “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.”
“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.”
McEnany said the mood in the White House was a “synonymous feeling” of horror when the Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in an attack that resulted in five deaths, including the Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick.
McEnany said “everyone” was “just completely condemning the actions of that day.”
While multiple White House staffers and cabinet members resigned after the riot, Trump himself was said to have been pleased with the violence. One former Trump aide told CNN that Trump was “loving watching the Capitol mob,” while officials at the time told The New York Times that Trump was initially pleased with the violence and ignored aides’ attempts to get him to intervene.
McEnany’s final White House press conference was a two-minute affair held the day after the riot, where she condemned the violence, calling it “appalling, reprehensible, and antithetical to the American way.”
She packed up her office a week later and finished out her remaining days on the job working remotely from her home in Florida, according to the Independent.