“For Such a Time as This: My Faith Journey Through the White House and Beyond” by Kayleigh McEnany delivers a real insider’s view of what was going on in the White House and on the campaign trail during the final year of the Trump administration. Ms. McEnany was a former White House press secretary and is now a co-host on the Fox show “Outnumbered.”
With an education that included Georgetown, Oxford and a Harvard Juris Doctor, Ms. McEnany was academically well prepared for the depth of knowledge and debate skills necessary for her executive appointment.
In addition to spiritual and political insight, there is so much practical advice to recommend in this book. “For Such a Time as This” provides dozens of pointers on effective communication, including an entire chapter devoted to crisis communications. It demonstrates how integrity, authenticity and humility can effectively counter ostentatious arrogance even at the highest level and as displayed by the bias and egotism of many in the White House press corps and the mainstream media.
One of the problems Ms. McEnany found in Washington politics was “people who cared more about what the New York Times or Washington Post wrote about them versus what the American People needed from them.” She goes on to observe that, in the Trump administration, “for the most part, we had tireless public servants willing to break from the mold of caring what the media elite said about them, instead focusing on things like Middle East peace and a roaring, but accessible, economy with opportunity for all.”
As for highlights of her career, Ms. McEnany reveals that she “can easily say that my most valued moments were not the moments that I walked to the White House podium, ready to face a room full of hostile correspondents. No, the time that meant the most to me was interviewing the men and women — marginalized and demonized — who made up the conservative movement.” And Ms. McEnany identifies herself with such “deplorable and irredeemable” “hillbillies” and “credulous rubes.”
During her time on the campaign trail, she notes, “it was an honor shaking hands with these patriots, hugging their necks, and hearing their stories. These were people from all walks of life and all different backgrounds. Listening to them prepared me for my time in the White House. The American People were on my mind when I stood at that podium.”
At times, this exceptional book reads like a devotional, but not an otherworldly devotional, rather one that’s more down-to-earth. “For Such a Time as This” puts the words of Scripture into contemporary action.
Indeed the title — “For Such a Time as This” — hearkens to the words found in Esther 4:14. Esther was queen to the Persian King Ahasuerus (aka Xerxes) beginning about 478 BC. Soon after Esther became queen, a decree to slaughter all Jews went out at the request of Haman, a high official of the Persian kingdom.
Queen Esther, secretly a Jew, potentially had the power to reverse the decree. Yet she was concerned that if she entered the king’s presence without being summoned that she would be executed. Nonetheless, Queen Esther, at the encouragement of her uncle Mordecai approached the king on behalf of the Jewish people. As Mordecai advised her (and Ms. McEnany reports) “‘if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place [for God is faithful to save His people], but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.’”
Ms. McEnany advises that “those words are not just applicable to me. I believe God wants everyone to embrace an Esther-like outlook. You are sitting where you are sitting geographically, professionally, and personally for a reason. God wants you to fulfill His purpose. He has great plans and a solemn mission for all of us to further His kingdom. The question is, will you accept it?”
With so many cowering to the brutish zeitgeist, strong women such as Esther-like Ms. McEnany, are allowing the grace of God to work through them to give the United States, indeed the world, a bright future for such a time as this.
• Anthony J. Sadar is an adjunct associate professor at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pa., and co-author of “Environmental Risk Communication: Principles and Practices for Industry, 2nd Edition” (CRC Press, 2021).
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