We don’t see a great deal of White House press secretary Sarah Sanders these days — at least not behind the briefing room’s podium. She has presided over the reduction of the so-called White House daily briefing into something approximating a monthly White House briefing.
So when the Erik Wemple Blog heard that Sanders would sit for an interview with Politico’s Eliana Johnson at the publication’s 2018 Women Rule Summit, we hustled over to catch the goings-on. It was worth the trip.
True to the theme of the conference, Johnson noted that President Trump recently called a female White House reporter “a total loser” and said another asked “stupid questions.” What about this treatment of women reporters? Sanders was ready: “The president has had an equal number of contentious conversations with your male colleagues,” she responded, to laughter in the conference room of the Four Seasons. “Women wanted to be treated equally, and we have a president that certainly does that. He is not going to hold back, and the people of this country elected him in large part because he is a fighter.”
So Johnson then asked: Whether they’re directed at male or female reporters, are the president’s comments to journalists appropriate? Feast on this Sanders dodge: “I don’t always find the behavior of the press to be appropriate, either. … Again, I think that the president is somebody who is a fighter," said the press secretary, referring to Trump’s winning electoral coalition.
On the question of the scaled-back press briefings, Sanders spoke about the availability of Trump himself, who has done a massive amount of short Q&A sessions. Better for the media to hear from him than from the press secretary, said Sanders.
What are Sanders’s hopes for her legacy?
I hope that it will be that I showed up every day and I did the very best job that I could to put forward the president’s message, to do the best job that I could to answer questions, to be transparent and honest throughout that process and do everything I could to make America a little better that day than it was the day before.
Bolding added to highlight a wish that defies fulfillment under Trump.
The press secretary dismissed reports dating back months that she would soon leave her post. “Not that I know about. … I take things one day at a time. As long as I feel like I’ve been called to the place that I am and I feel I’m an effective messenger for the president — and frankly, he feels like I’m an effective messenger for him — I’d like to continue doing what I do. I love my job.”