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:
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.