Tag Archives: Sarah Huckabee Sanders

No ‘guarantee’? So, what is the problem?

I feel the need to give White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders the benefit of the doubt on her latest skirmish with the press corps/”enemy of the people.”

She was pressed this week about whether she could “guarantee” that there would be no tape recordings of Donald J. Trump using the n-word in conversation.

Sanders said she couldn’t “guarantee” such a thing. Some in the media have gone a bit catatonic in their response to what I thought was a realistic answer. They have wondered how or why she couldn’t — or wouldn’t — offer a direct answer to a direct question.

Consider a couple of factors here.

First, as press secretary, Sanders very well might not know every tiny detail of every little occurrence within the West Wing.

Second, she serves in a presidential administration led by a pathological liar. Donald Trump cannot tell the truth to anyone, or so it appears, at least to chumps like me. I am quite certain Sanders didn’t intend to question the president’s veracity by making her “no guarantee” declaration.

Sure, Trump denies ever using the n-word. He says it’s not in his vocabulary. Do you believe him? I … do … not!

However, her answer sounded to my ears to be about the most honest response she has offered while speaking for the president.

WH press flack whiffs a home-run pitch

Sarah Huckabee Sanders was served a pitch that she should have hit out of the park. Instead, she whiffed.

It came from CNN White House reporter Jim Acosta, the current chief “enemy of the people,” according to the president and Sanders, his press secretary.

Acosta asked Sanders directly whether she believes as Donald John Trump believes that the media are the “enemy of the people.”

Sanders didn’t take the bait. She didn’t answer the question. She didn’t stand for the right of the media to do their job as prescribed by the U.S. Constitution. She didn’t challenge the notion that the media — which no president has ever liked — is the “enemy.”

The White House press secretary today revealed a potentially shameful side of herself.

See the Sanders-Acosta exchange on the link here.

I don’t know whether Sanders actually believes the crap she defends in the White House press briefing room, or whether she feels some sort of blind fealty to the head of state. Perhaps there’s a third option, that she might fear being humiliated by the president if he perceives that she is straying too far off the marked trail.

Whatever the case, the White House press officer could have assuaged many Americans’ fear that the White House has taken its war against the media to a frightening new level.

She didn’t.

Shame.

An ‘order’ or an ‘opinion’?

Let’s take another brief look at that tweet from Donald John Trump that’s gotten everyone’s attention.

He wrote: This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further. Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!

I want to dissect a section of the Twitter message. Did the president issue an order to the attorney general or was he merely stating an opinion?

I keep reading it and I keep coming up with the former. It looks like an order to my eyes. It would sound like an order were he to say it to me directly.

The Hill reported: (Former Watergate special prosecutor Jill) Wine-Banks argued that Trump’s tweet on Wednesday calling for Sessions to immediately end the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election was sent with the intention that Sessions obey it and that Trump has “undermined” the probe from the beginning.

The so-called explanation offered by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders just doesn’t add up. She said Trump merely was offering his “opinion” about the nature of Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in our electoral system.

Thus, the president might have committed a bald-faced act of conspiring to commit obstruction of justice with that message to the AG. Did he issue an order to Sessions to end an investigation into what he — the president — might have done?

This is unprecedented. It’s also, dare I say it — to borrow a malapropism once offered by Trump himself — very “unpresidented.”

No, Sarah, probe is no ‘hoax’ or a ‘waste of time’

Sarah Huckabee Sanders needs a serious reality check.

The White House press secretary this week called special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion between 2016 Trump presidential campaign and Russian election attack squad members a “hoax” and a “waste of time.”

Hmm. Let me think about that.

OK, it’s not a waste of time. Nor do I believe that multiple criminal indictments and a smattering of guilty pleas constitute a hoax.

The Hill reports that the number of aides caught up in this mess now stands at 32. More are likely to be in the mill.

A federal grand jury has indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers on conspiracy charges. Key campaign aides have been indicted as well, along with a former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who’s been cooling his jets in jail waiting for the start of his trial on charges of money laundering and assorted other felonies.

Hoax? Waste of time? Not even close.

Proceed, Mr. Special Counsel.

WH press flack redefines rhetorical elusiveness

I am going to offer a tip of the hat — sort of — to Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

The White House press secretary is either (a) exceedingly quick on her feet or (b) gets a thorough briefing from other West Wing staffers on how to answer direct questions.

Sanders got a question today about Donald J. Trump’s answer when he was asked by a reporter whether he still thought Russia posed a threat to our electoral system, as it did in attacking it during the 2016 presidential election.

The president said “no.” He said Russia did not pose a threat.

Sanders got the question at the White House press briefing: Did the president really mean to say Russia was not trying to interfere in our midterm election?

She said the “no” response to the question was the president’s way of saying “no more questions” from the media.

Isn’t that clever? Slick? Cagey?

It’s also untrue.

Sanders trotted out that amazing response to chief of staff John Kelly’s visible body language while Trump — at the NATO meeting in Brussels — was scolding the Germans over their supposedly being under the “total control” of Russia. A reporter asked her about Kelly’s reaction. She said he was angry because he wanted a full breakfast, but instead got only “pastry and cheese.”

That, dear reader, is hilarious.

Except that I ain’t laughing. Neither should you. It’s deceptive. She’s lying for her boss.

WH chief of staff angry over breakfast menu? Wow!

Sarah Huckabee Sanders has just notched my all-time favorite lame response from the White House press office.

It’s a beaut, man!

White House chief of staff John Kelly was seen grimacing, looking at the floor and fidgeting while sitting two seats away from the president, who was lambasting Germany over what Donald Trump contended was Russia’s total control over our strategic ally.

The person next to Kelly, U.S. North Atlantic Treaty Organization ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison — the former U.S. senator from Texas — was seen looking around as if to suggest she’d rather be anywhere other than where she was at the moment.

As the New York Daily News reported: As Trump laid into Germany, Kelly pursed his lips, looked down and appeared generally uncomfortable. Kelly seemed particularly unsettled when Trump made the “captive” comment, firmly pressing his lips together and staring off into the distance.

Someone then asked Sanders about Kelly’s apparently visceral response, that some had interpreted as extreme discomfort over what he was hearing from the president.

Sanders’s response? She said Kelly “was displeased because he was expecting a full breakfast and there were only pastries and cheese.”

Isn’t that a great retort? Doesn’t that qualify for entry into the press secretaries’ hall of shame for lame responses?

It’s got my vote. To be candid, I thought Sanders’s response to the question was quite, um, creative.

Stand tall, Sarah.

They work for us, however …

A woman confronted Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt yesterday while Pruitt was having a meal in a restaurant.

Kristin Mink teaches school in Washington, D.C., and said she had a “civil” discussion with Pruitt about EPA policies, which she says hurts her children.

“We deserve to have somebody at the EPA who actually does protect our environment, someone who believes in climate change and takes it seriously for the benefit of all us, including our children,” Mink said, “I would urge you to resign before your scandals push you out.”

OK. Maybe it’s just me, but I happen to shrink from this kind of confrontation of public officials in that context. Do I detest the policies that Pruitt is enacting at EPA? Yes. Do I also detest the policies coming from the Oval Office? Again, yes.

This whole issue has come to the fore in recent days ever since White House press flack Sarah Hucakabee Sanders was asked to leave a restaurant. Then came U.S. Rep. Maxine Water, D-Calif., who has declared that it’s OK to harass Trump administration officials even when they’re on their own time with their own families.

Whoa! Again, I disagree.

Kristin Mink makes a valid point, which is that Pruitt and, indeed, Donald J. Trump all work for us. They are our employees. They owe it to us to be accountable for their actions and we have every right to confront them whenever we damn well feel like it, or so the belief goes.

I just don’t like the idea of confronting these individuals in that manner. I certainly understand that they work for me — and you! There happen to be plenty of ways to hold them accountable. I try to do that with this blog, for instance. You can write them. You can call their staffs and bitch at them.

Or … you can vote for officials who will select people to administer public policy more to your preference.

I’ve confronted a (former) public official only once in my life. It was early 1996. I was walking along a street in Washington, D.C., when I encountered former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, who had just published a memoir in which he acknowledged that he knew as early as 1962 that the Vietnam War was a lost cause.

Well, I was one of the millions of young men who served for a time in that war. So … I told McNamara how angry I was to learn that my country sent me into harm’s way to participate in a war the former defense boss believed could not be won.

He thanked me for my comments. I thanked him for coming clean — finally! — and we parted ways. It was just him and me. McNamara is now deceased, so I’m the only party who can speak to what occurred that day in Washington.

I didn’t consider it in the moment to be a form of “harassment.” I do consider it harassment when you berate a public official who’s seeking to enjoy some private time.

At least they understand, however, that they work for us.

Here we go again with the insults

Donald J. Trump is at it again. A lawmaker criticizes him and his followers and he responds with … insults.

The target is a familiar one: U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California.

Waters flew off the rails over the weekend with a rant that called for harassing Trump administration officials, even when they are trying to enjoy an outing with their families. White House press aide Sarah Huckabee Sanders, for instance, was asked to leave a Lexington, Va., restaurant by the owner who polled her employees.

Trump’s response was to refer to Waters as “low IQ Maxine.” He warned her to “be careful what you wish for, Max.”

Hey, Waters was wrong to blurt out that ridiculous rant. Trump, though, cannot find it within himself to keep the discussion civil and dignified. He has returned to the insult gambit that plays oh, so well with his political base.

Donald Trump isn’t acting very “presidented.”

Settle down, Rep. Waters

U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters needs to settle down.

The California Democrat needs to develop a sense of decorum and decency in this overheated political climate. I know it’s hard, but it can be done.

She said the following Saturday at a rally. She was commenting on White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders being asked to leave a Virginia restaurant because Huckabee works for Donald J. Trump:

“For these members of his Cabinet who remain and try to defend him, they’re not going to be able to go to a restaurant, they’re not going to be able to stop at a gas station, they’re not going to be able to shop at a department store, the people are going to turn on them, they’re going to protest, they’re going to absolutely harass them until they decide that they’re going to tell the president ‘No, I can’t hang with you, this is wrong, this is unconscionable and we can’t keep doing this to children.'”

Waters is inciting potentially harmful — if not dangerous — confrontations.

She is angry over the president’s policy that took children from their parents at the southern border. I share her anger. It’s an outrageous effort to demonize illegal immigrants. It is punishing children because of something their parents have done.

The White House press secretary does not deserve to be hassled, harassed or hectored while she is in a public place with her family. Yes, Waters has walked back her comment just a bit. She says protest is a “democratic” process as long as it is peaceful. Fine. Protest in all sorts of ways.

However, the idea that she would encourage such confrontation of other Trump administration officials only inflames passion, drives deeper divisions between factions and creates even more hard feelings than those that exist already.

The president himself has shown himself to be the master of division and discord. There is no need to mimic what he has done to sow the seeds of anger among Americans.

Hassling officials from the administration while they are off the clock is no way to unite the nation.

Look inward, Rep. Waters

U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters needs to ask herself a critical question.

How would she react if someone were to approach her in a public place and began berating her over some statement she made? She wouldn’t like it one damn bit.

Thus, why in the world does the California Democrat believe it’s all right for anyone associated with the Trump administration to except — and possibly accept — similar treatment by Americans who are upset with the president’s policies.

Waters made that ridiculous assertion recently in the wake of White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s experience at a Lexington, Va., eating establishment. The owners of the eatery asked Sanders to leave, expecting that she might be harassed by other patrons. Sanders got up and left the Red Hen restaurant.

The incident has provoked a partisan fight.

In reality, Rep. Waters is flat wrong to suggest that Trump administration senior staffers should have to expect such treatment.

As The Hill reported: “The people are going to turn on them, they’re going to protest, they’re going to absolutely harass them until they decide that they’re going to tell the president, ‘No, I can’t hang with you, this is wrong, this is unconscionable and we can’t keep doing this to children,’” Waters said.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has called it correctly. He labeled such a point of view as “un-American.” Again, from The Hill:

“I strongly disagree with those who advocate harassing folks if they don’t agree with you. …No one should call for the harassment of political opponents. That’s not right. That’s not American,” Schumer said from the Senate floor.

Schumer added that he understands the “frustrations” some members of his party feel when Trump “complains about bullying [and] harassment” even though the president uses it “as a regular tool almost every day.”

“But the president’s tactics and behavior should never be emulated. It should be repudiated by organized, well-informed and passionate advocacy. As Michelle Obama, a person who represents the same kind of fineness that we’ve always had in America … said, ‘When they go low, we go high,’” Schumer said. 

Think of the Golden Rule, Rep. Waters, and ponder whether you would like to be treated in a way you would treat others.