Sarah Huckabee Sanders gave her 100th White House press briefing on Wednesday, and if you had hopes that she would shake it up and do things differently, you will be sorely disappointed. Not only did she continue her legacy of deflecting to defend the president, but she went 100 steps lower this time and attempted to politicize the tragic death of a young woman in Iowa—presumably to distract from the news that Michael Cohen implicated Donald Trump in a federal crime. Oh, and Paul Manafort was convicted of eight of the 18 charges he faced in federal court—including five counts of tax fraud.
Previously on White House Apprentice, Michael Cohen made a deal with the feds and said that he did a bunch of bad things at the request of his former client, Donald Trump. Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, then went on television and said his client is prepared to sing a Silk five-part harmony all by himself and asked for the public’s assistance in paying the legal fees for that performance.
When Sanders took to the podium, she didn’t address any of that—because why even address the very thing she knows everyone wants to address? She spoke of Hurricane Lane, which is on a path for the islands of Hawaii. She mentioned a phone call between Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, which took place earlier that morning.
Lastly, on behalf of the entire administration, she extended prayers to the “family, friends and loved ones of Mollie Tibbetts,” the Iowa student who went missing a month ago after going for a jog. Her body was found on Tuesday and a suspect, an undocumented immigrant, was arrested.
“The nation has watched for over 30 days as local, state and federal officials have searched for Molly, a rising sophomore at the University of Iowa,” Sanders said.
But then she added, “Sadly the individual believed to be responsible for the murder is an illegal immigrant, making this an unfortunate reminder of why we need to strengthen our immigration laws.”
“The Bible tells us in Psalms that the Lord heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. The Tibbetts family is hurting, and they are in the hearts of all Americans, and we are grieving with them,” she said and opened the floor to questions.
The reporters did not take the obvious “illegal immigrant” dog-whistle bait and instead asked questions about Cohen and Manafort—some of which Sanders dodged with the flexibility of Neo in The Matrix.
The first question asked was, “Michael Cohen under oath pleaded guilty to, among things, paying Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal during the campaign—and he says he did it at the direction of the president of the United States. Did President Trump commit a crime?”
“As the president has said and we’ve stated many times, he did nothing wrong. There are no charges against him. We’ve commented on this extensively,” Sanders said.
On follow up, the journalist asked, “Then why not report these payments?”
“Again, I’m not going to get into the back-and-forth details. I can tell you as the president has stated on numerous occasions, he did nothing wrong. There are no charges against him in this. Just because Michael Cohen made a plea deal, doesn’t mean that that implicates the president on anything,” Sanders replied.
The next question was “Can you stand here today and say the president has never lied to the American people, because so many people now look back at that tape of him on Air Force One saying he knew nothing about these payments—when in fact now we know that he knew everything about these payments. So, has he lied?”
“Look, again, I think that’s a ridiculous accusation. The president in this matter has done nothing wrong, and there are no charges against him,” Sanders said.
There’s no need to transcribe the entire briefing; you get the point. That answer is repeated to a lot of questions that are asked of Sanders.
At a moment when her boss is looking guiltier than ever, she continues to soft shoe it all away. Her evasive answers seem to reveal more about what she’s not saying.
Happy 100th press briefing, Sarah. If nothing else, you’ve shown us exactly why and how you earn your money.