White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at Wednesday’s briefing that she didn’t think it was “appropriate to lie from the podium or any other place.”
Sanders’ job is to defend President Donald Trump’s actions, and defend she does. But despite her saying that her job is to “communicate the president’s agenda” and “answer questions as honestly” as she can, Sanders has a history of not doing that with complete truth.
Here are just a few examples of Sanders giving us reasons to pause:
1. When she said at Wednesday’s press briefing that Trump didn’t lie about calls from the Mexican president and leaders of Boy Scouts of America.
Trump said Monday that the president of Mexico called him directly to offer praise for his immigration policies. President Enrique Peña Nieto said in a statement that he “has not had any recent telephone communication with President Donald Trump.” Sanders said in the briefing that this call Trump claimed to have had was actually a reference to a conversation the two presidents shared at the G20 summit. As for the leaders of the Boy Scouts of America, Sanders said they “congratulated” and “praised” Trump after his controversial speech at the National Scout Jamboree last week (though the group says this never happened).
Sanders then admitted that no “actual phone calls” took place; rather, they were in-person conversations. When ABC News’ Cecilia Vega indicated that the president lied, Sanders said she “wouldn’t say it was a lie.”
2. When she said “the president is not a liar.”
In June, former FBI Director James Comey said in his Senate testimony that the Trump administration had spread ‘‘lies, plain and simple,’’ “defaming’’ him at the agency. Sanders then disputed this testimony amid an off-camera briefing at the White House by saying, “The president’s not a liar.’’
According to The New York Times, Trump “told public lies or falsehoods every day for his first 40 days.”
3. When she said that the White House heard from “countless members” of the FBI about their respective lack of confidence in James Comey.
The acting director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, told lawmakers in a congressional hearing May 11 that that was inaccurate and said that Comey “enjoyed broad support within the FBI, and still does to this day.”
4. When she said that Trump has never “promoted or encouraged violence” after a slew of tweets about the hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
During his presidential campaign, in February 2016, Trump said to a crowd in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, “If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you?”
“Seriously. Just knock the hell ... I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees,” he added.
5. When she said “multiple news outlets” reported that former President Barack Obama ordered wiretaps on Trump.
Sanders said “high-profile sources” like The New York Times and BBC had reported this, but the only claim appears to have come from “a November 2016 blog post based on anonymous sources that has not been corroborated by independent U.S. journalists.”
Sanders clearly needs to rethink her definition of honesty ― we’re not even 200 days into this administration.