The president’s defense of accused domestic violence perpetrator Rob Porter on Twitter was decisive and unequivocally supportive. His support for survivors of domestic violence, passed through White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, not so much.
Former New York Times editor and current Washington Post columnist Margaret Sullivan expressed her disgust on Tuesday for Sanders’ sometimes lukewarm, sometimes bitingly resentful, answers to questions on Tuesday around recently departed staff secretary Rob Porter following revelations about his physical and emotional abuse of two ex-wives.
‘Watching the press secretary at Monday’s briefing, the words that came to mind were these: A new low.
‘Yes, a new rock bottom from the podium at the Trump White House press briefing.
‘And that is really saying something, given the lying-from-day-one reign of Sean Spicer, along with Sanders’s own fulsome history of dissembling, and the 10-day flameout of Anthony Scaramucci last summer.’
Colbie Holderness wrote a powerful piece on domestic violence. Everyone should read it. She talks about the strength she needed to survive an abusive relationship and share her story. https://t.co/OqV2OyStmQ
— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) February 13, 2018
Watching Sanders, day after day, turn the daily White House press briefings into a game of slinging the best insults to shut down questions is hard for most Americans to stomach, but Sullivan pointed out in her column that the snarkiness, resentfulness, and obfuscating never seems more pronounced than when Sanders is questioned about the president’s view of women and abuse.
‘Sanders’s Monday performance brought to mind a similar instance from mid-December: Trump had tweeted about Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), calling her “a total flunky for Chuck Schumer and someone who would come to my office ‘begging’ for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them).”
‘When asked in the briefing whether that didn’t sound an awful lot like sexual innuendo, Sanders turned the tables, telling the reporter, “Your mind is in the gutter.”
‘You might think that as one of the most visible women in the Trump administration, Sanders would bring some credibility — maybe even sympathy — to bear on subjects related to respect for women.
‘In fact, it seems to bring out the worst in her.’
During Tuesday’s briefing, Sanders continued to spout the prewritten script about the president’s views on domestic violence and how the White House was not at fault for allowing a staff secretary who had not been granted security clearance access to classified information. Repeatedly, she said:
‘The president supports victims of domestic violence and believes everyone should be treated fairly and with due process.’
Down the hall, Trump’s own FBI director, Christopher Wray, tore down the lies. The White House knew about the allegations well before the news went public. The White House knew about the allegations well before Sanders insisted that Porter was a man of “highest integrity and exemplary character.” They knew and they did nothing.
Considering the even more tangled web of lies now, and the particular subject those lies tried to cover up, Sullivan has had enough of press briefings featuring Sarah Huckabee Sanders or anyone from the Trump White House.
‘With her dismissive gestures, her curled-lip sneers, her ready insults and guilt-free lies, Sanders is a conduit — a tool — for Trump’s own abusive relationship with journalists.
‘Does it really make sense to keep coming back for more?
As a lawyer, I would ask this question when I knew the witness was caught in a lie of her own making. I am going to ask that question now of Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) February 13, 2018
For Tuesday’s full press briefing, see video below:
Featured image screengrab via YouTube