When White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders isn't criticizing journalists for their negative portrayals of President Trump, she's asking reporters what they're thankful for. During a Nov. 20 briefing, Sanders said reporters had to say what they were thankful for before they could ask her a question, and the request sparked genuine, witty, and even sarcastic responses from journalists during the briefing.
“This will be our last press briefing before the Thanksgiving holiday in this room,” Sanders said. “So I want to share a few things that I’m thankful for and I think it would be nice for you guys to do so, as well, before asking your questions.”
Sanders then said that she was thankful for all of the people in the room and the White House press corp, her family, and her faith. Sanders added that she was “particularly thankful for the brave men and women of the military” and "police and first responders who keep us safe here at home."
"And I'm certainly thankful for the incredible privilege of serving this president and the American people," she said.
Sanders then told that reporters would need to say what they were thankful for before they could ask her a question. "If you want to ask a question, I think it's only fair since I've shared what I'm thankful for, that you start off with what you're thankful for," she said.
Sanders first called on American Urban Radio Networks reporter April Ryan:
Ryan: “I’m thankful for life. I’m thankful for my children. I’m thankful for 20 years in this job. I’m thankful to be able to talk to and question you every single day.”
Sanders: “I feel the gratefulness there."
Ryan: “Now my question. I hope you felt the passion of my thankfulness.”
When Ryan proceeded to ask her a question about Trump's tweets about Marshawn Lynch and other NFL players protesting the national anthem, Sanders refused to answer and called on another reporter.
Multiple White House journalists said what they were thankful for before asking questions. One reporter said he was thankful for the upcoming birth of his child, adding that he was glad he went to Michigan instead of than Ohio State.
Newsmax's John Gizzi said, "I'm thankful for the position I have and the colleagues who are my friends. I'm thankful for my father, 96-years-old and going strong, and to my wife, my heroine, thankful to her for saying yes on the fourth request."
Others, like Ryan, gave slightly sarcastic yet serious responses that poked fun at Sanders' request and mocked the fact that they had to say what they were thankful for before doing their job.
“I’m very thankful for you calling on me regularly," one reporter said.
“I am thankful for the First Amendment,” ABC News’ Cecilia Vega said.
“Ooh, yes! We’re thankful for that,” Ryan said.
"I think we all are," Sanders replied.
"But we're part of it," Ryan said.
Even other reporters who were not in the press room weighed in on Sanders' request on Twitter.
There was one reporter, the Associated Press' Zeke Miller who didn't give thanks. Sanders replied, “you did break the rule of not offering anything that you’re thankful for,” to laughter from the room. Sanders then closed out the briefing by saying, “thank you for participating in this very fun exercise.”
While some reporters praised the White House press corps for some of their sarcastic responses, others said that it was embarrassing that journalists heeded her request in the first place.