On Tuesday evening, former President Donald Trump took to his social media platform Truth Social to launch an attack on his former press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, accusing her of distortion of poll figures during her appearance on Fox News.
The attack on McEnany, who is now a co–host of Fox News’s Outnumbered, came in response to her reporting on poll data from Iowa indicating that Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis is “closing the gap” with Trump since officially announcing his candidacy last week. In a tweet, Trump wrote, “Kayleigh ‘Milktoast’ [sic] McEnany just gave out the wrong poll numbers on Fox News. I am 34 points up on DeSanctimonious, not 25 up. While 25 is great, it’s not 34. She knew the number was corrected upwards by the group that did the poll.”
Trump’s use of “milktoast” is an apparent misspelling of the term “milquetoast,” which refers to a timid or weak person.
The attack has been met with widespread condemnation, even from some on the right. Former congresswoman Nan Hayworth tweeted, “Zero excuses for this kind of behavior. President Trump is capable of better. Kayleigh McEnany served in impeccable faith under the most difficult of circumstances. She’s the best of America in myriad ways. She deserves complete respect.”
DeSantis Rapid Response Director Christina Pushaw questioned, “Praising Andrew Cuomo Insulting Kayleigh McEnany … what happened to Trump?” Trump’s 2016 campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson tweeted in support of McEnany, “I stand with @kayleighmcenany.” Marc Thiessen observed, “He’s completely unhinged. Kayleigh is the kindest person and was the best press secretary to ever step foot in the White House. He’s losing control, lashing out at anyone and everyone who does not tow his line. Sad.”
The attack on McEnany represents a side of President Trump many of his supporters find appalling — unhinged and childish to say the least. She earned his loyalty while serving faithfully in his administration, and it’s difficult to comprehend why he chose to forget this.
The criticism of Trump’s attack on McEnany from Republicans and his supporters further reflects a growing trend in recent months that could have a detrimental impact on Trump’s support in 2024. The president will need all the help he can get if he is to secure reelection in 2024, and this type of ill–advised behavior is certainly not conducive to building a successful coalition.