Tag Archives: Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Being ‘not aware of plan’ is no reason for comfort

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says she is “not aware” of any plans for Donald Trump to fire special counsel Robert Mueller and/or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

I have to ask: Are we supposed to take that to the bank?

The president operates on a sort of chaotic system of strategy and tactics. He doesn’t tell those ostensibly closest to him anything in advance, or so it appears.

For Sanders to say she is “not aware” of the president’s plans gives me zero assurance that the man for whom she works is going to avoid doing something profoundly stupid.

Firing the special counsel would send Congress into pure apoplexy. Republicans and Democrats alike are urging Trump to let Mueller do his job, which is to get to the bottom of the Russia collusion issue that has dogged Trump since Day One of his presidency.

Trump reportedly has let it be known that he believes he has the authority to fire Mueller, even though he was appointed by Rosenstein.

Which brings me to the other point, which is that firing Rosenstein would be equally apoplectic for members of Congress.

I guess it’s good to remind y’all that Mueller is a Republican; Rosenstein is, too. And, oh yes, Donald Trump was elected as a Republican.

Yet the president keeps yapping “all those Democrats” who insist on the Mueller investigation continuing.

So, will the president let the special counsel and the deputy AG do their jobs? Will wisdom overcome this impetuous individual who seems incapable of listening to wise men and women who know more about government than he ever thought of knowing?

As for the press secretary telling the nation that she is “not aware” of any foolish actions coming up … well, stay tuned, Sarah. You’ll likely find out right along with the rest of us.

Let’s see how this guy works out

Of all the things Donald J. Trump said while campaigning for the presidency in 2016, one of the few statements he made with which I agree dealt with the Iraq War.

He called it a “total disaster.” Which it turned out to be … on so many levels.

So, who does the president hire as his next national security adviser? John Bolton, an Iraq War advocate, a premier uber-hawk and a guy known for a fiery world view that seems to require that America embark on nation-building whenever it sees fit.

Trump shoved H.R. McMaster out the door this week after press secretary Sarah Hucakbee Sanders assured us that all is well between the president and the national security adviser.

It turns out it wasn’t. McMaster actually was one of the grownups within the Trump inner circle. He is a U.S. Army lieutenant general, a battle-tested scholar. He also disagreed with Trump on a number of key issues: Russia, the Iran nuclear deal come to mind.

Now the president has brought on board a guy who agrees with him on the Iran nuke deal. He’s extremely hawkish on North Korea, too, meaning that he just might counsel the president to go to war with Kim Jong Un if an opportunity presents itself.

Gosh, I feel decidedly less comfortable knowing that John Bolton is returning to the federal government.

Bolton did say that he knows his role, that the president sets policy. His new duties will be to provide advice and counsel on national security matters.

Throughout all of this chaos, though, is the pattern already established that Trump hardly takes a moment to listen to anyone. I am left to wonder: Is the president going to heed the reckless advice that John Bolton is capable of delivering?

Oh, my. I am gnashing my teeth.

Boorishness, like bias, a matter of perception

A High Plains Blogger critic has called me out — again!

He doesn’t like the way I referred to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders as “young lady.” He thinks I sound “boorish,” “offensive” and condescending when I refer to her in that context.

He and I have exchanged a few words over that item on social media, but I feel compelled to offer this brief blog post to set the record straight on a thing or two.

I am 68 years and 3 months of age. Sanders is 35 years of age; she is nearly nine years younger than the younger of my two sons.

When I refer to a public official as a “young lady” or a “young man,” I do not do so with boorishness in my heart. I don’t perceive myself to be a boor. Any offense I deliver through these commentaries are taken that way by those who disagree with my world view, or whatever perspective I present.

I consider a criticism that I am being boorish in the same light as I take the term “biased.” Someone who accuses me of “bias” always — without failure — is someone who takes a different viewpoint. And I admit the same when I read “bias” in commentary with which I disagree.

One man’s bias is another man’s profound wisdom.

The same can be said of “boorishness,” although boorishness can rise — or sink — to levels that reach universal agreement. An example might be, oh let’s see, Donald Trump telling “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush in 2005 that his celebrity status entitles him to grab women by their private parts.

OK, maybe that’s a stretch. Trump, after all, got elected president of the United States even after those remarks were made public. What the heck, it was worth bringing up in any event.

I’ll accept the criticism that comes with writing this blog. As for my use of the term “young” preceding “lady” or “man,” I’ll continue to do so whenever I see fit.

Growing old allows it.

So there.

Press flack keeps insulting the public’s intelligence

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders fielded a direct question today from a member of the White House press corps: Is Russia a friend or foe of the United States?

Her answer defies all logic and it insults the intelligence of Americans across the board.

Sanders said “it is up to the Russians to decide” if they are going to be friendly or unfriendly toward the United States. Such a goofy response causes many of us out here to say: What the … is she talking about?

I need to remind Sanders what her boss, Donald John Trump, used to say about “identifying our enemies.” While running for president, Trump excoriated President Barack Obama for refusing to identify “Muslim terrorists” by name. Obama’s response was that we are not at war with Islam, but we are at war with those who are mass murderers of Muslims.

Why, then, does the current president identify Russia as a supreme foe of this country? Why does his press flack sing from the White House song book that refuses to identify our adversary — by name!

The Russians have all but declared war on our electoral system. They have sown discord, dismay and discontent among Americans, many of whom have lost total and unvarnished faith in our nation’s election system.

The Russians and their president, Vladimir Putin, are not our friends. Putin is a trained spook. He once ran the Soviet Union’s spy agency. He is, in the words of former Fox News talk show host Bill O’Reilly, “a killer.” Putin has sanctioned the murder of journalists and anyone who dissents from his public policy.

This man is a friend? It is up to the Russians to “decide” if they are our friend?

Listen up, young lady: You insult our intelligence constantly by spouting such idiocy.

Yes, the White House is at ‘war’ with the media

White House press secretaries have a singular mission, which is to convey the message of the president to the American public.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders is now performing that task to mixed reviews. Those who support Donald Trump’s agenda applaud her; those (of us) who don’t, well, we jeer her.

I’ll offer this jeer, therefore, to Sanders for saying that the White House is not “at war” with the media. Sure thing, Mme. Press Secretary.

Then, why does the president declare that the media are “the enemy of the American people”? Why does he keep insisting that media reports he finds objectionable come from what he refers to as “fake media”? Why does he disparage reporters individually, by name, along with their organizations?

Good grief, Sarah! The president declared war on the media long ago. The first press flack, Sean Spicer, fired the first barrage on Day One of the Trump administration when he challenged the media reporting of the size of the Trump inaugural crowd!

I am pretty certain the media believe they are in a state of “war” with the administration. Whether the White House’s “fine-tuned machine” believes it ignores what many of the rest of us realized long ago.

Sanders took part in a discussion of White House media relations with Mike McCurry, press secretary for the Clinton administration. McCurry, not surprisingly, took issue with Sanders’s assertion that there is no warfare taking place. He said the White House criticizes media reporting “every day,” which he considers to be a form of media war.

Read The Hill’s story here.

I am one of those former media guys who knows White House combat with the press when he sees it.

Thus, I believe Sarah Sanders is, um, quite wrong while she parrots the White House line on its relationship with the media.

Press aide goes for the throat against media

Now she’s done it.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the fiery White House press secretary, has now accused journalists and their bosses of “deliberately” reporting false news stories to advance an agenda.

Think of this for a moment. This is the White House’s front person with the media, the person who is supposed to develop a healthy professional relationship with those who report on the goings-on within the White House.

And by “healthy,” I don’t mean necessarily an always-positive relationship. “Healthy” implies that a certain two-way respect between sources and those who report on what they say and do.

The media-White House relationship should be listed in critical condition. At best.

White House at war with media

I am presuming that Sanders is speaking for Donald John Trump when she makes such hideous assertions. What she has done on the president’s behalf is accuse these professional journalists of violating the very tenets they vowed to uphold when they signed on to their craft.

Sanders said the media are “purposefully misleading the American people” by publishing and broadcasting reports that reporters and editors know are false.

I toiled in journalism for nearly four decades. Did I make mistakes while reporting the news? Sure I did. Did I correct them? Yes. Were any of them the result of some intent to advance a political agenda? Never.

I know I am speaking only for myself. I cannot know how others did their job, except that I always have accepted that other mainstream journalists adhered to a pledge that they would report truthfully and fairly.

To hear the White House press secretary assert that White House beat reporters are acting with deceit and dishonor is beyond offensive.

Actually, Mme. Press Secretary, election didn’t settle it

Sarah Huckabee Sanders says the 2016 presidential election decided what voters think about the accusations by women against Donald Trump.

Let me ponder that for a moment. Umm, actually it didn’t settle it. Or perhaps it did in a way that Sanders didn’t intend.

Several women have accused the president of behaving badly toward them; they have alleged incidents of groping, unwanted kissing and assorted tomfoolery they didn’t seek or want.

This is news today because of the sexual abuse allegations that have brought the downfall of Hollywood moguls, actors and politicians. Trump remains untouched. Some senators have called on Trump to resign, just as three members of Congress have done. Other critics are suggesting an ethics investigation is in order.

Oh, what did the election settle? Sanders said Trump’s Electoral College victory meant the issue is gone.

Nope. It isn’t.

Let’s see. How did Trump do in the popular vote? He received 62,985,134 votes. Oh, and how many votes went to Hillary Rodham Clinton? 65,853,652.

That’s a difference of 2,850,518 votes … in Hillary’s favor.

Thus, I do believe Sarah Sanders is mistaken if she thinks the election settled anything.

This is meant as a defense of POTUS?

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders no doubt intended to mount a stout defense of the president of the United States.

It somehow seemed to fall a bit flat, sounded a bit hollow.

Sanders was asked about the accusation that Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken groped and kissed a TV news anchor when the two of them were on a USO tour in 2006. Franken — who hadn’t yet joined the Senate — has acknowledged doing it and has apologized for his actions.

What about the myriad accusations that have been leveled against Donald J. Trump? Sanders said they differ from what Franken has confronted.

According to the Huffington Post:

“I think that this was covered pretty extensively during the campaign,” Sanders said. “We addressed that then. The American people, I think, spoke very loud and clear when they elected this president.”

“How is this different?” the reporter asked.

“I think in one case specifically, Sen. Franken has admitted wrongdoing, and the president hasn’t,” Sanders replied. “I think that’s a very clear distinction.” 

Yep. There you have it. The president hasn’t admitted to anything … as if he ever admits to doing a single wrong thing.

To be fair, none of the allegations against Trump has been proved — although he was recorded on a 2005 audio recording all but acknowledging that he could grab women by their “p****” if he felt like it.

Get over the media criticism, will ya White House?

Donald J. Trump’s White House press operation has developed as thin a skin as the boss.

Someone on the media pops off stupidly and the White House gets all over this reporter’s case. Then it launches a dual-front campaign accusing a cable network of practicing a double standard: one for conservative commentators and another one for liberals.

Get over it, White House!

ESPN talking head Jemele Hill popped off the other day about the president, calling him a white supremacist who surrounds himself with other white supremacists. I’ll just state here that Hill’s comments were stupid and had no place coming from someone who has made a name for herself commenting on matters that have nothing to do with the president of the United States and his alleged political tendencies.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is ratcheting up the White House attacks on ESPN. C’mon, young lady. Don’t you know about that First Amendment thing in the U.S. Constitution, the one that protects the media from government pressure? Sanders has said ESPN should have fired Hill. She made the statement while conducting a White House press briefing; her suggestion, thus, becomes something of a government policy statement relating to the conduct of a “free press.”

The president himself takes great joy — or so it seems — in blasting what he keeps calling “fake news” outlets. He calls the media “the enemy of the American people.” He singles out individual reporters at press events, criticizing their character and their organization’s integrity.

Now his press flack has joined that chorus.

I agree that Jemele Hill shouldn’t have said what she said, using her standing as an ESPN talking head to make her point. She has apologized. ESPN said it won’t punish her any further.

The president has much bigger fish to fry than this. I can think of, oh, North Korea, DACA legislation, tax reform … you know, those sorts of things. Media criticism? Set it aside and let other media — and even some bloggers out here in the heartland — take the talking head offenders to task.

You go, Professor Painter!

Richard Painter is emerging as one of my favorite pundits seen regularly when questions arise about the Trump administration.

Painter served as ethics lawyer/watchdog for President George W. Bush. Thus, he — more than likely — is a loyal Republican. He also is no fan of Donald John Trump Sr., which likely is why I appreciate his commentary so much.

Painter now teaches law at the University of Minnesota.

He recently commented on a statement from Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway, who suggested that the administration might administer lie-detector tests to aides in the hunt to determine who’s leaking information to the media.

Painter’s response via Twitter? “Kellyanne wants lie detectors in the White House? Try one on the press secretary podium. The place will light up like a disco!”

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has pledged never to lie from the White House press podium. I would like very much to give her the benefit of the doubt.

However, maybe Sanders ought to follow Professor Painter’s suggestion: hook up to the polygraph machine — just to be sure.