- Kayleigh McEnany/Instagram
It was not the first time McEnany had gone to bat for the president. She gained recognition during the 2016 election for frequently appearing as a Trump surrogate on cable news networks. McEnany immediately drew attention for her combative style and polished demeanor.
Throughout her tenure as a CNN talking head, McEnany got into more than a few heated exchanges with other personalities like New York Times columnist Charles Blow and CNN host Van Jones.
On Monday, the Republican National Committee announced McEnany will join its ranks, bringing a decidedly Trump-friendly tilt to the party apparatus. Here’s what we know about McEnany, one of Trump’s earliest and most vocal supporters:
McEnany was born in 1988 and grew up in Florida, where she attended the Academy of the Holy Names, a private Catholic school for girls.
— Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) March 25, 2017
She received a Bachelor’s of Science in international politics from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and also spent a year studying at Oxford University in the UK.
Source: Georgetown University
She previously interned for a number of high-ranking politicians, including former President George W. Bush. McEnany volunteered for the Bush reelection campaign as a high school sophomore in 2004.
- Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
She went on to intern in Bush’s White House communications office, and once escorted quarterback Eli Manning to the Oval Office.
After graduating from Georgetown in 2010, McEnany worked as a producer on former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee’s TV show.
She worked her way up the network ladder, appearing more frequently as a conservative pundit on more popular shows over the years. The first appearance she posted on her Facebook page was on Fox News in 2011.
McEnany announced her support for then-Republican presidential candidate Trump in February 2016. Trump clinched the party’s nomination that May, when his last opponent, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, dropped out of the Republican primary.
- Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
McEnany also went to law school after finishing her undergraduate work. She started out at the University of Miami School of Law and eventually transferred to Harvard Law School, graduating with a J.D. in May 2016.
- Darren McCollester/Stringer/Getty Images
In July 2016, McEnany got engaged to St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Sean Gilmartin.
— Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) January 1, 2017
During the campaign, McEnany frequently appeared as a Trump surrogate, most prominently on CNN, where she was a paid commentator who promoted Trump’s platform and debated with left-leaning and anti-Trump commentators.
- Screenshot via CNN
Throughout her tenure at CNN, McEnany became known for her contentious spats with multiple personalities and guests. In February, she had a heated exchange with New York Times columnist Charles Blow on “CNN Tonight with Don Lemon.”
“Don’t do that,” Blow said when McEnany briefly touched his arm while claiming liberals and Trump critics had “sinister” motivations behind their objections to Trump. “Don’t touch me and say that’s your ‘sinister motivations’,” he said, as she deftly brushed aside his frustration.
In March 2017, she apologized on the air after falsely claiming that journalist Daniel Pearl, who was murdered by jihadists in 2002, died while former President Barack Obama was in office. McEnany said she had meant to refer to James Foley, who was slain by ISIS in 2014, not Pearl.
I apologize for using the wrong name. Both James Foley and Daniel Pearl lost their lives to terrorism & should be honored by our leaders.
— Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) March 28, 2017
Source: Washington Post
McEnany frequently sparred with CNN host Van Jones — particularly after the November election — with Jones often accusing McEnany of twisting his words and misrepresenting his statements.
- Screenshot via CNN
McEnany has continued advocating for Trump’s agenda since he took office, but on August 5, she suddenly left her job at CNN.
While I have enjoyed my time at CNN, I will be moving to a new role. Stay tuned next week!
— Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) August 5, 2017
On August 6, she appeared in a pro-Trump video in which she touted all of Trump’s accomplishments from the previous week.
- Donald J. Trump
Source: Business Insider
Some, including former US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, compared the segment to state TV that airs in places like Russia.
Wow. Feels eerily like so many state-owned channels I've watched in other countries https://t.co/dqsLEfuLj8
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) August 6, 2017
Source: Business Insider
On Monday, the Republican National Committee announced that McEnany would be joining its ranks as a national spokeswoman.
“I am excited to be joining the RNC at such an important and historic time in our country,” she said in a press release. “I’m eager to talk about Republican ideas and values and have important discussions about issues affecting Americans across this country.”
— GOP (@GOP) August 7, 2017
Bonus fact: McEnany is a dog-owner and frequently tweets out photos of him. He is very cute.
— Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) May 11, 2017
That moment when your puppy invades your dishwasher… ???? pic.twitter.com/I7RRXdEfU2
— Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) May 9, 2017