(USA Features) Former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany criticized media outlets on Friday over the way they covered the Russia “Bountygate” story following claims by anonymous intelligence sources that Moscow was paying Taliban fighters to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
During an appearance on Fox News’ “Outnumbered,” McEnany said that despite the Trump administration’s contention last summer when the report surfaced that it was unverified, she nevertheless fielded “dozens” of questions about the alleged bounties and why then-President Donald Trump did not take action against Russia.
“I was asked dozens and dozens of questions about the Russia bounties,” McEnany said, adding noting further that, at the time, she reminded reporters the reports had not been verified.
On Thursday, the Biden administration admitted that it had “low to moderate confidence” that the initial report, first disclosed by The New York Times, was accurate.
“‘There are dissenting opinions in the intelligence community, do not run with this narrative, it’s just simply not true and not the case,’” McEnany noted.
“But not only did they run with it, it is remarkable, if you take a walk through memory lane at The New York Times convincing military families who had their loved ones killed in action that, in fact, Russia bounties were probably to blame and not only that but their Commander-in-Chief, President Donald Trump simply didn’t care. It was a heinous allegation, they ran with it,” the former press secretary and current Fox News contributor continued.
She went on to say that the Times wasn’t the only media offender.
“CNN dropped the word ‘alleged’ from their reporting, The Washington Post said they had verified the reporting and then went on to give President Trump four Pinocchios over it, it was amazing … it was so heinous at the heart of it that the commander in chief would not care about the United States military men and women in the line of battle, it was egregious, and I’m glad that this day of accounting has come,” McEnany said.
In June after the report came out, then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden ripped Trump over the report.
“His entire presidency has been a gift to Putin, but this is beyond the pale,” Biden said. “It’s betrayal of the most sacred duty we bear as a nation to protect and equip our troops when we send them into harm’s way. It’s a betrayal of every single American family with a loved one serving in Afghanistan or anywhere overseas.”
Trump tweeted at the time: “Nobody briefed or told me, Mike Pence, or Chief of Staff Mark Meadows about the so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians, as reported through an ‘anonymous source’ by the Fake News New York Times. Everybody is denying it & there have not been many attacks on us.”
Biden said he brought up the issue during his first phone call as president with Russian President Vladimir Putin Jan. 26.
On Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki refused to apologize on behalf of Biden for repeatedly accusing Trump of something the administration now believes is very likely untrue.
“I’m not going to speak to the previous administration,” she told a reporter.