Sarah Huckabee Sanders has had her share of tussles with the media, and even Democratic lawmakers, during her tenure as White House press secretary.
Here are 10 such sparring matches that particularly stood out over the past several months.
Most recently, Sanders on Thursday mocked CNN’s ratings to needle Jim Acosta, the network’s chief White House correspondent, during a testy exchange over President Donald Trump’s use of Twitter earlier that day.
Acosta, noting that Trump’s tweet cast doubt on his administration’s support for reauthorizing a National Security Agency internet surveillance program, questioned the president’s rumored proclivity for watching Fox News and tweeting in response to live segments.
“I’m sure you’re disappointed that he’s not watching CNN,” Sanders joked.
“I think he watches a lot of CNN, if you don’t mind me saying,” Acosta replied.
“I don’t think that’s true. Your numbers would be higher,” Sanders responded, prompting laughs from the White House briefing room.
This was not the first time that Sanders disarmed a sparring partner in such a fashion.
Last week, in response to questions about Trump’s tweet announcing the first ever ‘fake news media’ awards, Sanders implied that many of those attending the press briefing could be in line for consideration.
“I don’t want to spoil anything, but my guess is that there are quite a few individuals that could be up for the awards,” Sanders said.
Sanders also told the White House press corps last month that their minds would have to be “in the gutter” to extrapolate anything sexual from a tweet Trump sent criticizing Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) after the senator called on him to resign.
Trump tweeted that Gillibrand was a “lightweight” and “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), is now in the ring fighting against Trump. Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED!”
Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, 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), is now in the ring fighting against Trump. Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2017
White House correspondent April Ryan asked Sanders if Trump should apologize to Gillibrand because one could interpret the tweet as suggesting that she offered sexual favors for campaign money.
“I think only if your mind is in the gutter would you have read it that way, so no,” Sanders said.
Also last month, Sanders slammed Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu (Calif.) after he attacked her on Twitter for inaccurately citing comments on tax reform legislation. The controversy began when the Hill inaccurately tweeted that Sanders had said the “GOP ‘begged’ Democrats to work on tax reform” during an appearance on “Fox & Friends.”
Sanders actually said that tax reform was “something that Democrats shouldn’t need to be begged to be a part of.”
Lieu, who has previously insinuated conspiracy theories about the GOP in relation to a political operative’s death, was quick to castigate the press secretary on Twitter.
In a now-deleted tweet, Lieu wrote: “Dear @PressSec: You don’t serve in Congress. I do. And I can say with absolute certainty that you are lying.”
Sanders rebuked Lieu for not reading the article in question, which correctly quoted her comments, and advised the congressman to “spend less time tweeting, more time doing your job.”
Dear @tedlieu – I don’t serve in Congress, but I can read. If you had read the story, not an incorrect tweet, you would see that what I said was Dems should be begging to help Americans keep more of their money. You should spend less time tweeting, more time doing your job. https://t.co/jI3W2a0xaQ
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) December 19, 2017
In November, Sanders called on former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to deal “with some of her own issues” before criticizing Trump.
The exchange began when Ryan asked about the former secretary of state’s recent comments on the waves of sexual harassment accusations in politics and the entertainment industry.
“She [Clinton] said, ‘Look, I worry about everything from his past because it tells you how he behaves in the present and the future.’ What do you say to that as it relates to these allegations against the president?” Ryan asked, referring to sexual misconduct allegations levied against Trump.
“I think Hillary Clinton probably should have dealt with some of her own issues before addressing this president,” Sanders countered.
Also in November, NBC national correspondent Peter Alexander asked Sanders to expand on her previous comments about it being rare for a leader not to have flaws.
“You said ‘all presidents have flaws …Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Kennedy.’ What are President Trump’s flaws?” Alexander asked.
“Probably that he has to deal with you guys on a daily basis,” Sanders replied.
Sanders suggested in October that the White House press pool “get a sense of humor” after receiving multiple questions about the president’s comments on having a higher IQ than Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
The questions arose after Trump stated in an interview with Forbes that he did not believe the rumors that Tillerson had called him a “moron,” but said if they were true they would have to “compare IQ tests.”
Even though Sanders began the briefing by restating that the president was joking in the interview, NBC’s Kristen Welker pressed the issue.
“How does the president expect the secretary of state to be effective when he’s questioning his intelligence?” Welker asked.
“Again, he wasn’t questioning the secretary of state’s intelligence. He made a joke,” Sanders reiterated. “Maybe you guys should get a sense of humor and try it sometime, but he simply made a joke.”
That same month, while fielding questions criticizing White House chief of staff John Kelly for previous comments about Rep. Frederica Wilson (D., Fla.), Sanders said that the congresswoman was “all hat, no cattle.”
Kelly had called Wilson an “empty barrel” for revealing details of a personal conversation the president had with the widow of a fallen soldier.
In September, while discussing the controversial NFL protests against the national anthem, Sanders made light of a slip of tongue by a member of the White House press pool.
Two weeks earlier, a reporter asked Sanders to clarify previous comments she made saying that Clinton’s new book, What Happened, contained “a false narrative and false accusations.”
“The biggest one is any place within the book where she [Clinton] lays blame for the loss on anyone but herself,” Sanders responded.
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