Kayleigh McEnany is an American spokesperson, author, and political commentator who was appointed the White House Press Secretary in April 2020; replacing Stephanie Grisham, a Trump loyalist who was named press secretary in the summer of 2019. She is a former pro-Trump CNN commentator who joined the Trump campaign as a press secretary in February 2020. Ms. McEnany made a name for herself by defending Donald Trump on CNN, a network where he has few allies.
Kayleigh McEnany was born as Kayleigh Michelle McEnany on Monday, April 18, 1988 (age 32 years; as of 2020), in Tampa, Florida, U.S. She grew up in Florida along with her two siblings, one sister, and one brother. Kayleigh McEnany and her sister, Ryann, attended the Academy of the Holy Names, an all-girls private Catholic preparatory school in Tampa.
After graduating from high school in 2006, she attended Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Washington D.C. where she majored in International Politics. Ms. McEnany left Georgetown for a year abroad at Oxford University in England where she was taught politics by Nick Thomas Symonds who later became British Shadow Home Secretary. Upon graduating from Georgetown in 2010, McEnany spent three years as a producer on the Mike Huckabee Show, a TV political commentary program on Fox News. In an interview, while talking about her experience with the Mike Huckabee Show, she said,
Working for The Mike Huckabee Show afforded me a number of once-in-a-lifetime experiences. I got to travel to Israel and write questions for Huckabee’s interview with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. I also produced interviews in London before the Royal Wedding in 2011.”
After leaving Fox News, she enrolled at the University of Miami School of Law. Later, she was transferred to Harvard Law School where she pursued her J.D. She graduated from Harvard in 2016. In an interview, she explained how her career in politics had influenced her approach to law school –
Writing really hard-hitting questions in media has helped me ask critical questions while studying law. I believe the facts should lead you to your conclusion. However, with ideologies, people tend to reach conclusions that are not necessarily supported by the facts. My law professors have gotten me to question my views on issues I had preconceived ideas about.”
According to Michael Dale Huckabee, who presented the Mike Huckabee Show, Ms. McEnany left Fox as she didn’t saw any on-air opportunity.
I think one of the reasons that Kayleigh went on to law school was because she didn’t see she was going to have an on-air opportunity at Fox anytime soon.”
Height: 5′ 7″
Eye Color: Blue
Hair Color: Blonde
Family, Religion & Ethnicity
Kayleigh McEnany belongs to a prosperous South Tampa white American family. She follows Christianity, and she is a regular reader of the Bible.
Parents & Siblings
Kayleigh McEnany is the eldest child of commercial roofing company owner Michael McEnany and Leanne McEnany.
Her father, Michael McEnany, founded his construction company, McEnany Roofing, in 1985. Her father played football at Mississippi State as a walk-on from 1979 to 1982. In an interview, while talking about walk-ons and Kayleigh McEnany, Michael McEnany said,
I was a walk-on and I love walk-ons,” Mike said. “Not just because I was one, but for whatever reason, they were overlooked by everybody else. That walk-on mentality was in me and it’s in Kayleigh. She’s a fighter. She comes out every day like this is her last day. She prepares. She’s very prepared and it’s not by accident because she knows hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. If nothing else, most of the time with walk-ons they have bigger hearts than they have skills. They make up for lack of skills with heart and effort. That’s just what she does.”
Her sister, Ryann Jessica McEnany, the youngest McEnany sibling, majored in telecommunications from the University of Florida and aspired to become a sports journalist, and in 2020, Ryann started working for President Trump’s re-election campaign.
Kayleigh’s brother, Michael, is a Resident Physician at the University of New Mexico.
Relationships, Husband & Children
Kayleigh McEnany is married to Sean Gilmartin, a professional Baseball player.
According to their wedding registry, they have been married since November 18, 2017.
The couple welcomed a daughter, Blake Avery, in November 2019.
Kayleigh McEnany first got involved in politics in 2004 as a high school sophomore when she volunteered with the Bush/Cheney 2004 campaign. This experience helped launched her career in politics and eventual transition into television. During her initial college days, the 18-year-old Kayleigh McEnany interned for Tom Gallagher who ran against Charlie Christ in the primary for Governor of Florida in 2006. Later, she interned in the White House Office of Communications, where her job was to write media briefings.
While staying at the University of Miami School of Law, Ms. McEnany joined CNN where she appeared as a co-host on CNN’s “The Point,” a primetime political panel-based show, She also made television appearances on shows such as America Live w/ Megyn Kelly, Cavuto, Fox News’ Red Eye, The Mike Huckabee Show, The Real Story w/ Gretchen Carlson, and Varney & Co. She supported Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. Earlier, in 2015, she was highly critical of Trump, and she criticized him on CNN and Fox Business, where she said,
Donald Trump has shown himself to be a showman” and it was “unfortunate” and “inauthentic” to call him a Republican.”
In 2015, she also criticized Donald Trump’s racist comment about Mexican immigrants. In an exchange on CNN in late June 2015, she said,
To me, a racist statement is a racist statement. I don’t like what Donald Trump said.”
While Kayleigh McEnany was a Harvard law student, Michael Marcantonio, a fellow summer associate at the white-shoe law firm Kirkland & Ellis and a Democrat, advised her at a Manhattan rooftop cocktail party in the summer of 2015 that –
Donald Trump is going to be your nominee, if “a smart, young, blond Harvard graduate” wanted “to get on television and have a career as a political pundit, you would be wise to be an early backer.”
On August 5, 2017, McEnany left CNN, and she hosted “Real News Update,” a 90-second webcast on Trump’s personal Facebook page.
Republican Supporter & Strategist
Since her college days, Kayleigh McEnany has been a strong supporter of the Republican Party. On August 7, 2017, she was appointed the national spokesperson of the Republican National Committee (RNC). Since her appointment as the national spokesperson, Ms. McEnany has proved on many occasions that she is a loyal fighter for Mr. Trump.
White House Press Secretary
On April 7, 2020, Kayleigh McEnany was hired as White House press secretary by Mark Meadows (White House chief of staff); replacing Stephanie Grisham. Her appointment as White House press secretary was officially announced the next day, i.e., April 8, 2020.
As a White House press secretary, Ms. McEnany has defended Trump’s statements on several occasions, including the one when he suggested at a press conference that the coronavirus could be treated with disinfectant injections; while defending trump’s suggestion, she said that his remarks were taken out of context. During her first public press briefing on May 1, 2020, when asked by an Associated Press reporter:
Will you pledge to never lie to us from that podium?”
I will never lie to you. You have my word on that.”
- In 2012, she was criticized for supporting the “birther” conspiracy theory questioning former President Barack Obama’s birthplace.
How I Met Your Brother — Never mind, forgot he’s still in that hut in Kenya. #ObamaTVShows
— Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) August 30, 2012
- On October 14, 2020, Twitter locked Kayleigh McEnany’s account for sharing Hunter Biden’s story of The Post. Reportedly, The Post’s article reflected negatively on Joe Biden. The New York Post’s reporting of emails from Hunter Biden was censored by Twitter and Facebook, which allegedly showed Hunter leveraged access to his father, Joe Biden, in exchange for payments through his position on the board of a Ukraine company, Burisma. Later, in a rally, Trump criticized the action by Twitter to suspend Kayleigh’s account.
On October 15, 2020, Ms. McEnany regained control of her personal Twitter account on the condition that she would delete a link to The Post’s cover story describing emails from an alleged Hunter Biden hard drive.
- Sports: Football, Baseball
- Politician(s): Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump
- At the Miami School of Law, she received the Bruce J. Winick Award for Excellence, a scholarship awarded to the top 1% of students of their class. While praising the quality of McEnany’s work as a student in his Legal Communications class, Professor of Legal Writing, Peter Nemerovski said,
Kayleigh is a creative thinker and a talented writer whose performance in my LComm class was excellent.”
- According to Ms. McEnany, she has been interested in politics for as long as she can remember.
I have always been fascinated by politics and political commentary. Interestingly, besides me, no one in my family has a specific interest in politics or comes from a political background.”
- Kayleigh McEnany and her husband, Sean Gilmartin, together own a house on Davis Islands, a neighborhood with views of downtown Tampa. Originally built in 1940, the couple bought this property in September 2017 for $650,000.
- She is a dog lover and owns a pet dog, Lexi.
- In 2018, she underwent a preventative double mastectomy because of a BRCA mutation due to which she could develop breast cancer.
- In 2018, she published a book on the movement behind Mr. Trump’s 2016 election win – The New American Revolution: The Making of a Populist Movement.
- Her parents and siblings attended her first White House press briefing on May 1, 2020. Ms. McEnany also brought her one-year-old daughter to the event.
- Kayleigh McEnany tested positive for the COVID-19 on October 5, 2020.