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White House holds press briefing without President Trump

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany
Getty via CNN
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany holds her first press conference on May 1, 2020, in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House.

WASHINGTON, DC -- During her first briefing on Friday, new White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany promised that she'd "never lie" to the reporters in the room."I will never lie to you. You have my word on that," she said.

The Trump administration is distributing $12 billion to 395 hospitals across the country that have been "hardest hit" by the coronavirus pandemic, McEnany said. New Jersey, New York and Illinois will receive the most funding by state.

She also defended President Trump’s Friday tweets siding with protesters for their effort to reopen parts of the state of Michigan after Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extended her emergency declaration keeping some businesses shuttered.

Asked if she had any response to images of armed protesters facing off with law enforcement, McEnany responded that protesters must demonstrate within the bounds of the law.

Though the White House has not held an official coronavirus task force briefing all week, President Trump has taken the opportunity at other scheduled appearances to take questions and applaud his administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic as a "spectacular job."

At the tail-end of a response to a question Thursday about the president's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner declaring the government's response to COVID-19 a "success story," Trump touted the U.S. death total, which has climbed past 60,000, as "very strong."

"Our death totals, our numbers per million people, are really very, very strong. We are very proud of the job we have done," he said in the East Room event on "protecting America's seniors."

Trump's push to reopen comes as the country's economy sees its largest decline since the Great Recession, unemployment claims break records and as a November presidential election approaches.

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