A debate similar to the Yanny/Laurel internet uproar of 2018 took shape again on Tuesday after a White House press briefing.
President Donald Trump's latest White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, held a briefing yesterday to update Americans on the Trump response to the pandemic that's killed over 140 thousand Americans, as well as a bevy of other issues facing the United States.
Al Jazeera White House Correspondent Kimberly Halkett asked about what the Trump administration is doing to protect the integrity of the 2020 elections. She pressed McEnany to answer a followup question, but McEnany pointed out that she'd already answered two of Halkett's questions and moved on.
Some erroneously heard Halkett respond:
"I hate that lying b**ch."
Watch the exchange below.
Did a reporter call @PressSec a “Lying b*tch” on national TV during a White House Press Briefing? https://t.co/ODfMFpKl2c— Benny (@Benny)1595349218.0
Trump's allies seized on the moment as evidence of a loss of decorum and respect for the White House from the media.
But Halkett adressed the uproar on Twitter.
Halkett assured that what she actually said was:
"Okay, you don't want to engage."
A slowed down clip of the exchange confirmed that.
This is the slowed down audio. She clearly says, "Okay, you don't want to engage." https://t.co/63KYN6dLBU https://t.co/HGWCvH4a1L— Eddie Zipperer (@Eddie Zipperer)1595353481.0
And so did the official White House transcript.
If you’re still accusing @KimberlyHalkett of using an obscenity during today’s briefing with @PressSec, even the… https://t.co/bACgnaYNFV— Andrew Feinberg (@Andrew Feinberg)1595356148.0
Crow was eaten.
My ears hear well. But WH says no. I'll take it. https://t.co/vvBRTQceIv— BigBroNibby 🍊 (@BigBroNibby 🍊)1595363209.0
Even die-hard Republican Jack Posobiec defended Halkett.
Folks, I can understand why people heard something different, but I personally don't hear @KimberlyHalkett use prof… https://t.co/UNS9Iqov8f— Jack Posobiec (@Jack Posobiec)1595353730.0
Her name was cleared.
Kimberly Halkett didn’t say it because she’s a professional. But we all know it. Kayleigh lies. https://t.co/lm8186SWTP— Vicki Ringer (@Vicki Ringer)1595432386.0
@Mediaite @Geh4Peh It’s been well established this didn’t happen! Move on!— Dennis Hanson (@Dennis Hanson)1595367922.0
Meanwhile, Congressman Ted Yoho (R-FL) had to apologize on the House floor on Wednesday after calling Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) a "f'king b*tch." However his attempted apology is drawing more backlash than accolades.