After a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol Wednesday amid the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's win, the White House, in an effort to distance itself from the event, condemned the violence in a statement that seemed to fall on deaf ears. Speaking on "behalf of the entire White House" for a total of two minutes, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said "those who violently besieged our Capitol are the opposite of everything this administration stands for."
Reading a statement from her notebook more than 24 hours after the Capitol was stormed, McEnany said "the violence we saw yesterday at our nation's capital was appalling, reprehensible and antithetical to the American way," adding, "We condemn it — the president and this administration — in the strongest possible terms." Calling for the country to unite and "reject the violence that we have seen," she said "the core value of our administration is the idea that all citizens have the right to live and safety, peace and freedom." She called on those who broke the law to be "prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
In a brief statement, without taking questions, Press Sec. Kayleigh McEnany said the White House condemns the siege on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob: "It is unacceptable and those that broke the law should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law." https://t.co/t9bSjEjS4T pic.twitter.com/NQ8SMzGOeq— ABC News (@ABC) January 8, 2021
For many, though, McEnany's statements fell flat in the wake of weeks of Trump spewing baseless claims of voter fraud and a "rigged" election and encouraging protests on Jan. 6. Trump himself, as the riots forced lawmakers to seek shelter and placed the Capitol on lockdown, applauded the mob in a video statement shared to Twitter that has since been removed because it violated the platform's rules. In the video, as he told the rioters to "go home," the president reiterated unfounded claims that the election was "stolen" and referred to the rioters as "special" and told them that he loves them.
Social media quickly erupted with people blasting McEnany, many pointing to the president's own comments and tweets. Scroll down to see what social media had to say.
It's weird they're condemning what they incited.— Eric (@EDS_1979) January 8, 2021
How can you stand there right now after your boss planned this and you know this— Theresa Aiken (@TheresaAiken6) January 8, 2021
So then why did Trump tell them he loved them and they are special?— Kim (@kimmeejo82) January 7, 2021
But per Trump, he Loves them and they are Very Special to him.— Kannan S (@riderchap) January 7, 2021
No. Trump said straight to camera that he “loves” them. He didn’t condemn them. He told them to go in peace.— That’s Not Sus (@thatsnotsus) January 7, 2021
@PressSec How does one condemn violence they stoked?— America is dying under Trump 🏴☠️🌊 (@rob13567) January 7, 2021
Yesterday Trump said he loves them, but sure Kayleigh.— Smirnoff and Sprite (@smirnoff_sprite) January 8, 2021
Then perhaps he shouldn't have told them to do it. Way to send mixed messages.— Peter Braund (@peterbraund) January 8, 2021
The opposite of what this administration stands for - a lie right off the bat. Kayleigh McEnemy & Team Trump & their propaganda are complicit with what happened. Their messages mean nothing without an acknowledgement of that.— BKay (@brunkay27) January 8, 2021
It's not so easy to explain to people why they shouldn't storm the Capitol after spending months convincing them that their votes have been stolen in an elaborate conspiracy to destroy their country— Son of Jerome (@Pragdeficit) January 7, 2021
The absolute lack of self awareness is staggering.— Walk in Liberty (@BullMooseBlog1) January 7, 2021
Yesterday your boss told those people "we love you" @PressSec -- which is it?— Being Miranda Jayne (@beingmirandaj) January 7, 2021
PR, damage control. These people are not to be taken seriously.— Xiaolin Allen Zhao (@allenzhao) January 8, 2021
In a brief and *hollow, shallow, empty* statement...— Thomas Minski (@HigherSkils) January 8, 2021