Reporters took up position around the White House press briefing room Wednesday, loaded for bear as Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders took the podium following two days of some of the most vitriolic waves of attacks yet on President Trump’s integrity and loyalty to our country.
Ready to bolster their mainstream media narratives, which bore striking similarities to former CIA Director John Brennan’s accusation that Trump committed outright treason at his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, they attacked the moment Sanders finished her opening words. What they didn’t realize was that Sanders was the most heavily armed person in the room.
One reporter, in particular, really had his lunch handed to him.
“The president seems to spend more time criticizing his predecessor Barack Obama for letting it [Russian election meddling] happen...do you have any sense why the president has not been more critical of Putin for some of these events that the entire world’s stage has gone after him about?” asked Washington Post reporter Josh Dawsey.
Smirking, Sanders replied, “Look, I think the president, as he has said many times, has been tougher on Russia than anybody. I think you can see that in all of the actions that he’s taken.”
She then went down a list, point by point, outlining Trump’s tariffs on Russian goods, his sanctions on “numerous individuals and entities” in Russia, his sanctions on the government for cyber attacks, the expelling of 60 Russian operatives, the closing of two consulates, his condemnation of the poisoning of UK citizens, the giving of aid to Ukraine, the “authorized military strikes against the Assad regime in Syria,” and the bolstering of America’s Eastern European allies — all things that shouldn’t make Putin happy.
“Look, the president has been extremely tough on Russia, and to say anything different is just not true,” Sanders chided Dawsey — and everyone else in the room.
But Dawsey wasn’t ready to give up yet, even though the press secretary was already starting to bury him up to his neck.
“Trump calls out other world leaders by name far more than Vladimir Putin. Why won’t he criticize Putin by name?” he demanded.
“I think he has. I think he has called them out for interfering in our election,” Sanders shot back. “He’s been tough on Russia, repeatedly, and he’s taken action against Russia on a number of fronts that I just listed off.”
Dawsey tried one more time: “But he was beside him on Monday [at the press conference], though. Why wasn’t he critical of Putin’s actions?”
Sanders explained to him carefully that Trump was critical — and always has been — of Putin in his talks with him. She also explained the importance of getting along with Russia, if possible.
“He [Trump] recognizes that fact that 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons are under the United States and Russia,” she replied, pushing back against the insinuation from Politico and others that we need to declare war on Russia. “He [Trump] wants to create a more stable world, a more peaceful world, and we can’t do that if we can’t get along with Russia in some capacity.”
But she wasn’t quite done yet with the reporter.
“Certainly, we’ve called him out, we’ve been tough, we’ve approached this in a totally different fashion than what has previously been done because what has been done in the past hasn’t worked,” she said. “But to act like he hasn’t been tough on Russia, that hasn’t called them out, is simply not true.”
Way to go, Sarah! Watch the full, dynamite press conference below: