Sarah Huckabee Sanders ate a great deal of press time Tuesday by inviting Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao to talk about infrastructure and take a boatload of questions.
CNN’s Brooke Baldwin and Brian Stelter was quick to jump on the notion that Sanders uses human shields to eat up press briefing time so that she has less time for questions.
“They sort of trod out this cabinet secretary to talk about infrastructure,” Baldwin said. “They bring out these special guests when they know chaos is a swirlin’.”
Stelter noted that the big story that the White House is currently trying to avoid is what Chief of Staff John Kelly did or did not know and when he did or did not know it about the domestic abuse allegations against former White House aide Rob Porter.
“Really the White House is stonewalling here,” Stelter said. “It’s pretty clear that’s what they’re doing because this is a story about dysfunction and about dishonesty at the White House.”
“And by the way, talking about people who are being silent, it’s not just John Kelly, it’s not just the personnel folks. It’s also Hope Hicks, who’s at the center of this story, who has not said a word about it publicly. It’s gone on a week now and I think the silence from these individuals who are so involved, that’s partly what’s keeping this going.”
Twitter was not duped by Sanders’ move, either, and skewered her for dodging the press:
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) February 13, 2018
Sanders is going to be VERY angry that she has so little time to answer questions!
— Philip Bump (@pbump) February 13, 2018
I hope a reporter asks #ElaineChao what she would do if she was given information that a member of her senior staff had a history of domestic abuse
— Kurt Bardella (@kurtbardella) February 13, 2018
Here’s how the White House avoids (for now) answering questions about Porter scandal: inviting Transportation Secretary Chao to briefing room. (Not Labor Secretary – that was in Bush years. A sign of my age.) pic.twitter.com/UMDWmQLjFy
— Jeff Zeleny (@jeffzeleny) February 13, 2018
white house throws up transportation secy elaine chao as human shield so sarah sanders can throw off some of the heat of questions about the abuse coverup pic.twitter.com/DJg27B0kfz
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) February 13, 2018
At delayed White House press briefing, @PressSec brings out Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to talk about infrastructure as the Rob Porter saga drags on.
— Francesca Chambers (@fran_chambers) February 13, 2018
Josh Schwerin and Matt Nussbaum should go get lottery tickets, because they perfectly predicted the course of events:
Time to hear about where Trump is donating his salary
— Josh Schwerin (@JoshSchwerin) February 13, 2018