Sarah Huckabee Sanders pleads ignorance as the Rob Porter mess worsens
February 13 at 5:17 PM Email the author White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Feb. 13 faced repeated questions from reporters about the White House's response to allegations of abuse against Rob Porter, the former White House staff secretary. (Reuters)
Weâve reached the stage in the Rob Porter saga where the White Houseâs previous statements now appear so blatantly false that all press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders can do is suggest she didnât know they were false.
âWeâre giving you the best information that weâre going to have,â Sanders told reporters Tuesday. âObviously the press teamâs not going to be as read-in, maybe, as some other elements, at a given moment, on a variety of topics. But we relay the best and most accurate information that we have, and we get those from those individuals.â
Sanders made a cursory attempt to square Tuesdayâs congressional testimony by FBI Director Christopher A. Wray with what she has said in recent days about the White Houseâs knowledge of domestic violence accusations against Porter, who resigned last week as White House staff secretary.
For example: Sanders had said Monday that âthe process for the background was ongoing, and the White House had not received any specific papers regarding the completion of that background checkâ for Porter. Yet Wray testified Tuesday that the FBI had, in fact, completed its security-clearance investigation of Porter and submitted a report to the White House in July.
Addressing the media a few hours after Wrayâs testimony, Sanders said it was not the background check but rather the White Houseâs own personnel security process that was ongoing â" acting as though thatâs what she had said all along and that there was no inconsisten cy with her statement Monday that âthis is a process that doesnât operate within the White House. Itâs handled by our law enforcement and intelligence community.â
Sanders seemed to recognize the flimsiness of her explanation because she said repeatedly that White House spokesmen try their best to tell the truth, based on what they are told.
âYou've talked multiple times about, sort of, wanting to give us the best information that you have,â Bloomberg Newsâs Toluse Olorunnipa said at one point. âThis scandal has been going on for a week now, and we still donât have answers to the basic questions of, sort of, who knew what when.â
âIâve done the best I can to talk you through that process,â Sanders replied, returning to the defense Olorunnipa had just pointed out.
âSo, I want to ask you whether youâve spoken specifically to Gen. John Kelly and to the White House counsel to ask them these questions,â Olorunnipa followed up . âBecause youâve said âIâm not awareâ or âIâm not sure.â â
âI have, and this is the information that was given to me by those individuals,â Sanders answered.
[Top White House officials knew of abuse allegations against top aide for months]
Sanders reemphasized that she simply relays what she is told by higher-ranking officials such as Chief of Staff John F. Kelly and White House Counsel Donald McGahn.
This is about as close to acknowledging falsehoods as the Trump White House gets. Recall what Sandersâs predecessor, Sean Spicer, said during the first media briefing after his false claim about Trumpâs inauguration crowd.
âWeâre going to do our best every time we can,â Spicer told reporters. âIâm going to come out here and tell you the facts as I know them.â
Sanders is now doing the same thing Spicer did â" saying she does her âbestâ while implying that any inaccuracy she speaks is the result of faulty information supplied to her.The White House faced questions about former staff secretary Rob Porter's Feb. 7 resignation, after two of his ex-wives accused him of abuse. (Patrick Martin/The Washington Post)Source: Google News