During Monday’s press briefing, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stumbled when she was asked if President Trump stands by remarks he made last Friday when praised Rob Porter immediately after he was ousted from his White House job following domestic abuse allegations.
“Does the president still wish Rob Porter well, does he still believe that he wants him to have a great career ahead of him?” a reporter asked.
Visibly troubled, Sanders indicated that Trump’s comments were meant to reflect that he hopes all Americans — domestic abusers included — do well.
“I think the President of the United States hopes that all Americans can be successful in whatever they do, and if they’ve had any issues in the past — I’m not confirming or denying one way or the other — but if they do, the president wants success for all Americans,” Sanders said. “He was elected to serve all Americans, and he hopes for the best for all American citizens across the country.”
Why haven’t we heard the president say what you said right there, that he takes domestic violence very seriously?” ABC Correspondent Cecilia Vega asked Sanders.
“I spoke with the president and those are actually his words that he gave me directly today,” Sanders insisted. “It’s my job to speak on behalf of the president. I spoke to him and he gave that message directly to me and I read it directly to you.”
Another reporter noted that Vice President Mike Pence had called the allegations against Porter appalling, yet Trump had not personally spoken out.
“Why not use this as an opportunity to say something like that?” the reporter wondered. “Why does he have to speak through you?”
“The president has been clear multiple times through myself and others in the administration that we condemn domestic violence,” Sanders opined.
“He has not said it,” the correspondent pressed. “Why has he not said it?”
“I’m the spokesperson for the White House and the president,” Sanders shot back. “And I’m saying it to you right now.”
“Why do you have to say it?” the reporter asked again. “Why can’t he say it?”
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