While speaking at an event this Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders talked about how she’d like to be remembered when her role comes to an end. Considering her track record for telling the truth, her hopes may be a tall order.
During POLITICO’s Women Rule event, Sanders was asked by reporter Eliana Johnson how she wants her legacy to turn out.
“I hope that it will be that I showed up every day and I did the very best job that I could to put forward the president’s message,” she replied, adding that she’d also like to be recognized for doing “the best job that I could to answer questions.”
“To be transparent and honest throughout that process and do everything I could to make America a little better that day than it was the day before,” she continued.
When asked about President Trump’s attacks on female journalists, Sanders refused to say whether or not they crossed a line, saying that male reporters were equally a target of Trump’s wrath.
“The president’s had an equal number of contentious conversations with your male colleagues,” Sanders said. “Women wanted to be treated equally, and we have a president that certainly does that.”
But the president seems to have targeted female reporters in particular, and his comments demeaning or otherwise belittling women journalists go back nearly two years. Early in his presidency, Trump commented on an Irish reporter’s appearances, calling her over to his desk in an uncomfortable exchange that ricocheted on social media.
In an encounter with reporters days after the news conference at which he sparred with Acosta, the president insulted April Ryan. “You talk about somebody that’s a loser,” Trump said of Ryan, a White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks who is African-American. “She doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing.”
At the same gathering, another black female reporter, Abby Phillip of CNN, asked Trump whether he wanted his acting attorney general, Matthew Whitaker, to “rein in” special counsel Robert Mueller. “What a stupid question that is. What a stupid question,” he told her.
Also last month, the president lashed out at Yamiche Alcindor, a reporter of color with “PBS NewsHour,” when she asked whether he worried that his rhetoric was emboldening white nationalists. “That is such a racist question,” Trump said, adding that the question “is so insulting to me. It’s a very terrible thing you said.”
Speaking to The New York Times this past May, Sanders said that she tries to deliver the “best and most accurate information at the time that I can.”
“One of the few things you have are your integrity and reputation,” Sanders said in the interview. “There’s a difference between misspeaking or not knowing something than maliciously lying.”
Sanders’ track record with fact checkers tells a different story. Just last month, she was pilloried in the press and social media after sharing an allegedly doctored video that misrepresented an interaction between CNN reporter Jim Acosta and a White House intern who attempted to take a mic out of his hand during a contentious exchange with President Trump.
As The Verge reported, the exchange in which Acosta moves his hand to block the intern’s arm was captured by various news outlets, but two additional versions were shared: one from the conspiracy site Infowars and one from Sanders, which seemed to depict Acosta’s actions as more aggressive than they actually were.
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