Former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany is a firm believer that God has a plan for people’s lives.
In her new book, “For Such a Time as This,” the co-host of “Outnumbered” on FOX News Channel shares some of the stories from her life that strengthen this conviction.
When her uncle Mordecai, who had raised her, learned of a plot to kill all the Jews in the empire, he exhorted her to raise the matter before her husband, King Ahasuerus.
“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” he said.
Esther heeded her uncle’s counsel, though it potentially placed her life in peril because of the protocols of the royal court at that time, and succeeded in saving the Jewish people from destruction.
“Let me start by saying what Esther did for human history is far more than anything I will ever do,” McEnany told The Western Journal during a recent interview.
“But I think that story is in the Bible in Esther 4:14, where the words ‘for such a time as this’ are, I think that’s in there not just for me to hear but for anyone listening to hear,” she said.
The book of Esther is really is a story about God’s providence, though he is not directly mentioned in it.
Do you believe God has a plan for people’s lives?
Nevertheless, there seemed to be an invisible hand that guided the course of Esther’s life to place her in the right place at the right time.
When McEnany became White House press secretary in April 2020 at 31, she was one of the youngest ever to serve but nonetheless was well prepared for the role.
By that point in her life, she had interned in the White House press office when Dana Perino was press secretary for then-President George W. Bush.
That opportunity was followed by stints as a producer for the Fox News program “Hannity & Colmes” and “The Mike Huckabee Show” on radio. In the latter gig, she crossed paths with Huckabee’s daughter, future White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.
Add to those experiences the Floridian’s education background, which includes a bachelor’s degree in international politics from Georgetown University and a juris doctorate from Harvard Law School.
While enrolled in Georgetown, McEnany spent a year abroad studying at Oxford University, which she recounts in her book proved a valuable training ground for future White House press briefings.
At the school, students were required to write one or two 10-page papers a week and defend them in one-on-one “tutorials.” She recounted that during these sessions, a “highly credentialed and well-studied academic” would grill the students as they read their papers, challenging the ideas presented all along the way.
“The tutorial far eclipsed the press briefing in terms of difficulty. Preparing for these tense encounters certainly shaped the way I prepared before I went to the podium,” McEnany wrote.
Her first media briefing came in May 2020, a few weeks after she started at the White House.
McEnany admitted she was anxious in taking the job with the nation in the early throes of COVID-19 and herself a wife and the mother of a baby girl living in Florida, but the words from Esther encouraged her.
She said her father, Michael McEnany, texted her as she was in the decision-making process and said, “Kayleigh, maybe you are made ‘for such a time as this.’”
“And separately, three weeks later, a Democrat commentator said to me, ‘Maybe you are made for such a time as this.’ And when two people from very different ideological backgrounds provide for you the same message in a short amount of time, I think it was God’s way of saying, ‘You know, I want you to go do this,’” McEnany recalled.
The day of her first briefing, McEnany called her parents and prayed with them before she went out to face the media.
Sanders also sent advice to McEnany just before the briefing, writing, “Most importantly — Pray! Let God carry you through the tough times, give you strength when you don’t have any and wisdom to say the right thing.”
Additionally, she shared a daily devotion from the book “Jesus Calling” from that day, May 1.
Given from the perspective of Jesus it read, in part, “You are on the path of My choosing. There is no randomness about your life. … As you give yourself more and more to a life of constant communion with Me, you will find that you simply have no time to worry.”
“She was able, as a sister in Christ, to give me a lot of comfort before going to the podium for the first time,” McEnany said.
One of the more spiritually powerful times during her tenure as the 33rd White House press secretary came in late September 2020.
“I had walked around the National Mall with my mom and my daughter,” she recalled. “There was a National Prayer March, so preaching was literally ringing out throughout the nation’s capital. I go into the White House rushing to [Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court] nomination ceremony, and I turn the corner and in the West Wing lobby is Franklin Graham and Jentezen Franklin and all of these other great Christian preachers.”
McEnany and her staff visited with Graham. She said she was inspired by the thought that the evangelist was going to meet with President Donald Trump just as his father, the Rev. Billy Graham, had done with so many presidents before him.
A challenging and uncertain time followed soon thereafter in early October when Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19, putting a halt to his presidential campaign and sending him to Walter Reed Medical Center for treatment.
McEnany went into some detail about the behind-the-scenes decision-making at that time.
The press secretary ended up getting sick with COVID too, but “thankfully the president got through. I got through,” and the other White House staff infected did, as well, she said.
Trump hit the campaign trail again by mid-October, which included a stop at the International Church of Las Vegas.
“When we went on the aftermath of recovering to a church service at the International Church of Las Vegas, it’s cool. I go to church with my family, but never with the president of the United States,” McEnany said.
Photo via @shealahDCphoto pic.twitter.com/MSAUW3ie2x
— Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) October 19, 2020
One moment that particularly touched her is when the congregation sang the worship songs “New Wine” and “Do It Again.”
“But after all recovering from COVID,” McEnany said, “standing there and hearing these amazing lyrics about new wine — it’s the first time I’d heard that song about God using the crushing and the pressing to make new wine out of you, this beautiful end product doesn’t come without the hurt, the pain and the crushing beforehand.
“I just started to tear up because I could just so, so personally feel God’s presence in that moment.”
What she was reminded of in singing “Do It Again” is that no seemingly insurmountable circumstance or mountain “can stand in the way of God’s power.”
While McEnany shared aspects of her spiritual journey during her time at the White House, “For Such a Time as This” is as much a firsthand account of her overall experience there.
Looking back, she said, she sees vindication in many of the false narratives propagated by the establishment media at that time later being debunked.
These included their discrediting of the 45th president’s view the COVID may have started in the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China, wrongly claiming that Trump cleared Lafayette Square in D.C. for a photo op and dismissing the shady dealings of then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, as Russian disinformation.
McEnany saw it as her role as press secretary to counter those false narratives while staying true to her Christian faith.
“But that doesn’t mean we don’t have to be tough and have accountability and be able to fight back, not with literal fighting, but fight back with facts and substance and footnotes and have accountability,” she said.
Looking back on Trump’s four years in office, McEnany said his biggest contribution was in turning the federal courts in a more conservative direction, with originalist and textualist judges, including three on the Supreme Court.
The fact that Roe v. Wade, which she described as “a scourge on the American consciousness,” could even potentially be overturned during the current Supreme Court term is because of the 45th president.
Additionally, McEnany argued that Trump “ultimately what he brought was a sense of authenticity to the presidency.”
“He kept his word, he was authentic, and I think he’s changed politics forever because of it,” she said.
Concerning the future of the United States, what gives McEnany the greatest hope is the judgment of the American people and ultimately her faith in God.
People are “waking up” and are not happy with the current direction of the country, she said, pointing to polling rejecting President Biden’s and Democrats’ agenda.
“No one knows why certain people become president at certain moments, but I know there’s a creator and someone so much bigger that’s in control,” McEnany said.
“Which is why when people say, ‘It’s so scary to bring children into the world at this time.’ And I understand the feeling, certainly. But you know, for me, as a mom of one — hopefully a mom of more in the future — you know, for me, we need more and more men and women of great character to be brought into this world, to be raised as great Americans and great Christian men and women of faith.”
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