A Profile In Obfuscation
The first six months of President Trump’s tenure was chaotic, but nowhere was the disorder more apparent than in the arena of communicating with the public and the press. The President’s first press secretary was Sean Spicer, who will be remembered for his condescending and contentious style. But Spicer will be remembered most for his claim that more people attended President Trump’s inauguration ceremony than that of any previous president – a claim that was patently false. Spicer abruptly resigned on July 21, 2017, after only six months on the job, when President Trump appointed Anthony Scaramucci to be Communications Director. Later that same day, Scaramucci announced that Sarah Huckabee Sanders would be the new White House Press Secretary. Ten days later Scaramucci was fired by the president because of derogatory statements Scaramucci had made about some White House staff staffers. From that day on, Sarah Huckabee Sanders has been the official voice of the President and the White House.
Most of this early tumult and controversy was over attempts by the president’s representatives to explain and make sense to the public and press members what the president was saying and tweeting daily. Not much has changed since those early days except that Sarah Huckabee Sanders has shown more willingness than others to use her position as press secretary to defend the President with all her might and at any cost, which includes inflicting damage to the country, the presidency and to her own credibility. It’s painful to watch Ms. Sanders as she tries to put on her best face and her best spin on answers to tough questions by press members about the President’s conflicting and dubious statements and tweets.
But give Ms. Sanders her due credit: she bites her lip, swallows her pride and bumbles and mumbles her way from one dubious answer to another, many of which are laced with obfuscation and misinformation. She stands firm in her unconditional support and defense of the President in the face of all criticism, and she does not admit to mistakes, mischaracterizations or misrepresentations. That makes her the perfect front for this president, and she has honed her skills to deflect as much criticism from his dishonesty as possible. President Trump lost his credibility a long time ago, and that of Ms. Sanders is now tarnished beyond repair. I wonder how Sarah Huckabee Sanders feels about herself – knowing that most members of the press and much of the public do not trust her as an honest spokesman for this dishonest president. I expect that historians will not judge Ms. Sanders kindly, and I wonder whether she will conclude in the end that her willingness to defend this president at all cost was worth the price of her credibility and integrity.