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Kayleigh McEnany calls CNN’s Kaitlan Collins an ‘activist’ after White House briefing

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany spoke during a briefing in Washington on Friday.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany spoke during a briefing in Washington on Friday.Susan Walsh/Associated Press

After White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany held her first briefing in weeks, she refused to take a question from CNN’s Kaitlan Collins and called her an “activist,” to which Collins responded by telling McEnany she had failed to do her “taxpayer-funded job.”

“Thank you everyone for the very good and substantive questions today,” McEnany said, before she appeared to look at Collins and say: “I don’t call on activists.”

“I’m not an activist and you haven’t taken questions since Oct. 1 and you just took about five, Kayleigh” Collins replied as McEnany began to walk out of the briefing room. “That’s not doing your job. Your taypayer-funded job.”

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Collins later responded to McEnany’s jab on Twitter, writing: “It’s understandable why someone who hasn’t done their job — taking questions from reporters — in weeks would confuse someone else doing theirs with activism.”

A number of Collins’s CNN colleagues came to her defense after the exchange.

“I just want to say you got attacked from the podium today unfairly and unprofessionally and I just want to note you’re one of the best White House correspondents ever in the history of this country,” Jake Tapper told Collins after she appeared on his show to provide an update on President Trump’s White House meeting with Michigan state lawmakers. “You do a fantastic job and we’re very lucky to have you and we are all 100% behind you.”

He also took the sentiment to Twitter, noting Collins “will still be in that room after January 20, 2021.”

Fellow CNNer Chris Cillizza said Collins was as fair as they come.


Amanda Kaufman can be reached at amanda.kaufman@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandakauf1.