Who Is Sarah Huckabee Sanders? Trump's Deputy Press Secretary Is Going To The Mat For Him
Over the past few days, President Donald Trump's unsupported and widely condemned claim that President Obama wiretapped him in advance of the 2016 election has dominated the news cycle. On Saturday, Trump unleashed what was, to put it mildly, a seemingly unhinged tweet claiming Obama was executing "McCarthyism" without offering any concrete evidence. While members of the Trump administration became busy defending the commander-in-chief's claim, it led some increased visibility for Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump's deputy press secretary.
When Trump's allegations hit, Sanders sat down with both ABC News' Martha Raddatz and George Stephanopoulos to defend Trump's claims. Somewhat understandably, she appears to have had a difficult time doing so. Consider the below exchange:
RADDTAZ: Why is the president saying it did happen?
SANDERS: Look, I think he's going off of information that he's seen that has led him to believe that this is a very real potential. And if it is, this is the greatest overreach and the greatest abuse of power that I think we have ever seen and a huge attack on democracy itself. And the American people have a right to know if this took place.
RADDATZ: OK. The president, let me say again, the president said it did take place. Why does he believe these articles that you say you cite and I'm saying, they are not definitive. The Breitbart brings them all together, a heat street. They have two sources with links to the counterintelligence community. That's it. Anonymous sources. The president constantly says he doesn't like anonymous sources, and he doesn't like leakers.
SANDERS: I love how anonymous sources don't count when it's something that's positive in this administration and against the former one. You guys use anonymous sources every single day.
RADDATZ: Is that the bar? Yes, yes, we do. Yes, we do. But the president believe this is -- but what's the bar there? What does the president believe?
SANDERS: Look, I think he's made very clear what he believes. And he's asking that we get down to the bottom of this. Let's get the truth here. Let's find out. I think the bigger story isn't who reported it, but is it true? And I think the American people have a right to know if this happened, because if it did, again this is the largest abuse of power that I think we is have ever seen.
RADDATZ: OK. Let me just say one more time. The president said, I bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October. So the president believes it is true?
SANDERS: I would say that his tweet speaks for itself there.
The 34-year-old Sanders is the second-in-command to the full fledged press secretary and communications director Sean Spicer. She took a job with the Trump campaign in 2016 after her father ― former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee ― dropped out of the Republican primary process.
While deputy press secretaries don't always ascend to the top job, it's a career trajectory that has happened before; former president Barack Obama's last press secretary, Josh Earnest, started out as the deputy when the administration first began in 2009. In other words, that means she could be in line to nab Spicer's job someday ― although considering Trump was reportedly incensed that Spicer was portrayed by a woman on Saturday Night Live, it's tough to gauge just how realistic a possibility that is.
It may be a positive indication of the trust and standing she has within the administration ― in relative terms, at least ― that she was rolled out for press availability in the midst of such a major controversy.
Trump reportedly has a mercurial attitude towards the people who defend him in public, no doubt a job of epic proportions. The big question, really, is whether Sanders will find a way to stay within his good graces.