Kayleigh McEnany Displays One of Trump’s Checks in a Little Too Much Detail

WASHINGTON — It’s a feel-good story that President Trump’s press secretaries have relished over the years: the quarterly announcement of which government agency Mr. Trump has selected to be the lucky recipient of his salary, an easy way to show the president sticking to his 2016 campaign pledge to forgo his $400,000 salary and donate it.

In the past, the $100,000 check from Mr. Trump has been made out to the Small Business Administration initiative to help veteran entrepreneurs, to the Office of the Surgeon General to fight the opioid epidemic, and to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, among other places.

But on Friday, Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, did not just reveal that the president was sending his salary to the Department of Health and Human Services to help “support the efforts being undertaken to confront, contain and combat the coronavirus.”

She also displayed the president’s private bank account and routing numbers.

The $100,000 check she held up like a prop appeared to be a real check from Capital One, complete with the relevant details. An administration official said mock checks were never used in the briefing.

A White House spokesman, Judd Deere, said in a statement, “Today his salary went to help advance new therapies to treat this virus, but leave it to the media to find a shameful reason not to simply report the facts, focusing instead on whether the check is real or not.”

For an average civilian, that information could be used to withdraw or deposit money, make online purchases or hack an account.

“It’s not a best practice to share that information publicly,” said Eva Velasquez, the president and chief executive of the Identity Theft Resource Center. “If you don’t have protections in place, there are sophisticated schemes and ways someone could access those funds knowing the account and routing number and the individual person it belongs to.”


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  • Frequently Asked Questions and Advice

    Updated May 20, 2020

    • What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

      Common symptoms include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. The C.D.C. has also added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

    • How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?

      Over 38 million people have filed for unemployment since March. One in five who were working in February reported losing a job or being furloughed in March or the beginning of April, data from a Federal Reserve survey released on May 14 showed, and that pain was highly concentrated among low earners. Fully 39 percent of former workers living in a household earning $40,000 or less lost work, compared with 13 percent in those making more than $100,000, a Fed official said.

    • How can I protect myself while flying?

      If air travel is unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A study from Emory University found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)

    • Is ‘Covid toe’ a symptom of the disease?

      There is an uptick in people reporting symptoms of chilblains, which are painful red or purple lesions that typically appear in the winter on fingers or toes. The lesions are emerging as yet another symptom of infection with the new coronavirus. Chilblains are caused by inflammation in small blood vessels in reaction to cold or damp conditions, but they are usually common in the coldest winter months. Federal health officials do not include toe lesions in the list of coronavirus symptoms, but some dermatologists are pushing for a change, saying so-called Covid toe should be sufficient grounds for testing.

    • Should I wear a mask?

      The C.D.C. has recommended that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting new concerns that the coronavirus is being spread by infected people who have no symptoms. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

    • How can I help?

      Charity Navigator, which evaluates charities using a numbers-based system, has a running list of nonprofits working in communities affected by the outbreak. You can give blood through the American Red Cross, and World Central Kitchen has stepped in to distribute meals in major cities.


Ms. Velasquez said that a bank was almost certain to have additional protections in place on the account of a high-profile person like the president. Mr. Trump, she said, was not likely to be hacked because of photographs of the check that subsequently circulated online Friday night.

But she said the image of Ms. McEnany flashing Mr. Trump’s personal information in front of cameras sent a concerning message. “This is one of those situations where setting the example is very important,” Ms. Velasquez said. “It’s very important for your average person to understand this is not a best practice.”

Mike Chapple, a teaching professor of information technology at the University of Notre Dame, said the appearance showed why large promotional checks were used for television appearances. “They’re not only a nice prop onstage, but they also omit the sensitive account information that normally appears at the bottom of the check,” he said. “The rest of us should play it safe and keep our account numbers to ourselves.”

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