I have given Sarah Huckabee Sanders the benefit of the doubt during her time as White House press secretary.
She’s got a tough job, speaking for a president who lies out of both sides of his mouth. I didn’t actually believe Sanders was a fellow liar, incapable of telling the truth. Until just recently.
She declared at a press briefing that Donald Trump won an “overwhelming victory” in the 2016 presidential election.
Oh, my. Sigh. I want to revisit a matter that I’ve looked at already. It just needs a revisiting.
Donald Trump collected nearly 3 million fewer popular votes than Hillary Rodham Clinton. The totals are: Trump, 62,985,134, or 45.93 percent; Clinton, 65,853,652, or 48.02 percent. Clinton won the popular vote by a significant margin, although she didn’t win an outright majority of popular ballots.
Trump won the Electoral College vote — which is where it matters — by a 304-227 margin. He needed 270 electoral votes to be elected.
Overwhelming margin? Let’s see. If three swing states that Trump won — Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — had flipped fewer than 80,000 votes, Clinton would have won the Electoral College by three votes and, thus, would have been elected president.
OK, please let me stipulate — once again — that Trump was elected legitimately. I believe in the Electoral College and I don’t want it repealed. Trump managed to pull off one of the nation’s most historic upsets by campaigning in precisely the right states at precisely the right time in a hard-fought, bitter and nasty campaign.
The president keeps casting his victory in historic terms. He keeps saying he won handily. He didn’t. Sarah Sanders knows he didn’t. I know he didn’t and if he’s honest with himself — even if he cannot be honest with the rest of us — Donald Trump knows it, too.
In a way, Trump’s victory was historic in at least one sense. Damn few so-called “experts” thought he’d win. He did. Despite having no public service experience, let alone any interest in it prior to running for president, Trump was elected to the only public office he’s ever sought.
Overwhelming victory? Not even close. So, Mme. Press Secretary, stop repeating that lie.