In recent weeks, Sarah Huckabee Sanders has taken on a notably more prominent role in discussing Trump’s agenda, including on television and at White House press briefings.
Sanders, who is a chief defender of Trump and has faced aggressive on-air questions about the president’s wiretapping claims, hasn’t missed a beat.
While talking with George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning America,” Sanders took a page from President Lyndon Johnson saying, “If the president walked across the Potomac, the media would be reporting that he could not swim.”
Sanders was schooled in politics from a young age by her father, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. As stated by McClatchyDC: “Her way with a zinger — and her unshakable loyalty to an often-unpredictable boss — are big reasons why the deputy press secretary is a rising star in Trump’s orbit.”
Entering politics at an early age, Sanders helped with her father’s campaigns as a child and then worked her way up the ranks. She has worked on a number of Senate and presidential campaigns as well as having also served under President George W. Bush in the Education Department.
Mike Huckabee said his daughter was always a natural.
“When most kids at 7 or 8 are jumping rope, she’s sitting at the kitchen table listening to Dick Morris doing cross tabs on statewide polls,” said Huckabee.
“She understands America. She understands the president. And she understands how to connect the two,” said Kellyanne Conway, a counselor to the president. “The president has a great deal of trust in Sarah.”
Sanders credits her political-minded father with helping her learn the gift of message delivery.
“I’ll call and say, ‘What do you think if I say this?’ He’ll say, ‘That’s really good. You might try to say it a little bit more like X,'” she said.
Sanders’ rise has fueled speculation that she’s becoming the president’s “go-to” for broad messaging, an idea she disputes. “It’s hard for any one person to maintain a schedule of being the singular face, all day every day,” she said.
“When Eric Schultz went on TV, did anybody say Josh Earnest is getting fired?” Sanders asked. “Was that story ever written?”
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has echoed Sanders’ message, saying, “My goal is to use other key folks in the administration and the White House to do the shows.”
On advocating for a president that is as unconventional as Trump, Sanders relays that even in the press office, they aren’t informed before Trump tweets. But Sanders explains that it is exactly why people voted for him for president, saying that he “directly communicates with the American people on a regular basis.”
“One of the big things my dad was running on was changing Washington, breaking that cycle,” Sanders said. “I felt like the outsider component was important and I thought he had the ability to actually win and defeat Hillary.”
She also said she was drawn to the Trump family’s close involvement in the campaign, “having, kind of, been in the same scenario for my dad’s campaign.”
While Sanders hasn’t been portrayed on “Saturday Night Live” — like Spicer and Conway — her dad says that if that day comes, she should “roll with it.”
“One of the great honors of life is to be parodied,” Huckabee said. “It’s kind of an indication that you’ve arrived at a place of real power.”
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