Kayleigh McEnany can come up with a defense for virtually anything Donald Trump says (see above). When the presumptive Republican presidential nominee echoed a woman in the crowd who called Ted Cruz a "pussy" at a rally in February, McEnany said Trump should be excused because he merely repeated the word and said it was "terrible." (He also encouraged the woman to "shout it out," and his scolding appeared to be less than serious.)
So if CNN's Harvard Law School-educated, in-house Trump supporter can't defend a statement by the candidate, it must be pretty bad.
On Friday, even McEnany conceded that Trump crossed a line when he told the Wall Street Journal that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel's "Mexican heritage" represents an "inherent conflict of interest" in a case involving Trump University.
"It's not relevant, and he shouldn't have made that comment — that's for sure," McEnany said. "It does make it harder to win the Hispanic community by making this comment."
As I've written before, McEnany was critical of Trump's rhetoric early in the campaign. Last June, she said the real estate mogul's assertion that Mexico was sending drug dealers, rapists and other criminals into the United States was "very inappropriate."
But since embracing her role as a pro-Trump pundit in February, McEnany has rarely criticized him. That's why her negative appraisal on Friday is so notable.
It once again highlights the challenge TV networks face in representing the Trump perspective. Shortly after McEnany offered her thoughts on CNN, Trump campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson defended her boss on MSNBC. But that's Pierson's job. At times, it is hard to find any credible commentator — not on the Trump payroll — willing to go to bat for him.
There is a real benefit for viewers here. Trump says so many provocative things that it can be difficult for the casual observer to discern which are truly significant and which will be quickly forgotten.
One way to figure it out: watch McEnany. Or Jeffrey Lord, Scottie Nell Hughes or Carl Higbie. When one of these Trump talkers objects to something he says, it suggests the presumptive Republican standard-bearer has offended the sensibilities of even his biggest fans in the media.