Like her boss, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is a fighter who isn’t afraid to put rude journalists in their place.
The press secretary shut down a reporter who tried to one-up her in a Tuesday press briefing by citing the legal advice of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as if it were ironclad authority.
“I would never use Nancy Pelosi as my source for legal authority on probably anything,” Sanders said defiantly.
Sarah Sanders shuts down journalist
As Trump’s PR department, dealing with a hostile press corp is part of Sanders’ job, one that she handles admirably. The press secretary held her own against a snide remark from a reporter for Bloomberg who uncritically echoed one of Pelosi’s talking points in her party’s ongoing feud with president Trump over the border wall.
Justin Sink asked Sanders whether the Trump administration planned to seek the authority of Congress to follow through on Sanders’ suggestion Tuesday that Trump would fund the border wall by re-allocating money from federal agencies, noting that Pelosi had already said that Trump had no authority to do so without the approval of Congress.
“Or are you saying that you think that you have the legal authority?” Sink continued. “And what are you — I guess — basing that legal authority on, since Nancy Pelosi said today that, in fact, that sort of authority doesn’t exist?”
— The Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) December 18, 2018
Sanders said that she would never go to Pelosi for legal advice and that the White House would like Congress to fund the wall with an appropriations bill, but that she would rely on the White House’s lawyers to find other lawful avenues if necessary.
“I would never use Nancy Pelosi as my source for legal authority on probably anything,” Sanders said. “But I would use attorneys that work here at the White House and in agencies that that’s their entire job is determining whether or not something is legal. And we’re looking to those individuals to find out those specific pots of money that can be used for that.”
Border wall battle
Later, as Tuesday’s 15-minute briefing was coming to a close, reporters heckled Sanders, with one shouting: “Do your job, Sarah!”
Sanders has been tasked with a difficult job over the last week: helping President Trump make the case for border wall funding as a partial government shutdown looms on the horizon over a budgeting dispute between Trump and the Democrats, who refuse to secure the border by approving funding for the wall. Over the last week, Sanders and her boss have drawn attention to the fact that Democrats used to support secure borders as Trump has gradually pulled back from his shutdown threat.
On Tuesday, Sanders signaled that Trump was reversing his stance last week, when he vowed to force a shutdown and take the blame for it Democrats don’t give him the wall. Sanders said that Trump does not want to shut down the government and is looking into alternative methods to get his $5 billion, like using the military and funding the wall by re-allocating federal money from federal agencies to supplement the Democrat’s offer of $1.6 billion, to fulfill his central campaign promise since Pelosi and House Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) refuse to budge.
On Wednesday, the Senate moved to keep the government open by voting to approve stop-gap funding that doesn’t include money for the wall. Soon after, Trump said that “one way or another” the wall will get built, and pointed to the military as a solution.