Admittedly, the job of being White House Press Secretary is by definition not easy. Even in the days of President Obama, when the (mostly liberal) press was far more friendly to the White House than today, press secretaries came and went.
Some of them had amusingly ironic names in Obama’s term such as Josh Earnest, a name that for some odd reason no one seemed to riff on, as the job of Press Secretary is often to lie to the press so the President cannot be snagged for lying directly.
President Obama had three press secretaries over his eight year tenure in the White House: the aforementioned Mr. Earnest, Robert Gibbs, and Jay Carney, who also earned the nickname of “The White House WonderKid” from conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh.
The job is hell. The average lifespan of one’s career in it is about two and a half years, and the job is described by the International Business Times as “the worst job in government.”
In the eighteen months since Donald Trump took the oath of office as President of the United States, he has already had two press secretaries – Sean Spicer, who lasted 182 days, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who so far has served just over one year. However, there is no sign that Sarah is cracking under the absolutely enormous pressure of a rabidly anti-Trump press corps. Quite the opposite is true.
In the press conference of August 2, Sarah showed that she is made of steel. This is certainly not the first time she has shown her absolute mastery of the “ravening press dogs”, so to speak, but it was certainly one of the finest examples:
CNN’s own Jim Acosta, who has been making quite a name for himself as the “Annoying Man” of the White House Press Corps, was in fine form as he tried to buttonhole Mrs. Sanders into responding to the statement made by President Trump’s daughter Ivanka, that the press is not the “enemy of the people.”
True to his own form, Mr. Acosta is not at all concerned about policy or America’s well being in the slightest, though he may think he is. If he does, it is visibly apparent even to other liberal pressers that he is simply determined to vilify President Trump in any way possible, and today he tried to corner Sarah into answering in such a manner that would either further aggravate the news media representatives or make her contradict President Trump’s point of view, which by definition a press secretary is supposed to rigidly represent, without speculation unless there is actually room to do so.
Sarah wasn’t having it.
Some interesting points made in this last ten minutes as Acosta wasted valuable time in the 46 minute meeting by trying to blow up the unity of the White House team instead of being a news reporter. Late in June of this year, Mrs. Sanders was accosted in a Virginia restaurant by agitators angry over the policy of separating the children of illegal immigrant parents from those parents if they were being held for a crime. On June 27th several reports surfaced saying that a Secret Service detail was to be given the White House Press Secretary but then nothing further was heard about this.
Until today. Sarah noted that the media climate against the Trump administration is so hostile that she is now the first press secretary in the history of the United States to have such a detail. Yet, she refused to play the game according to Jim Acosta’s… accosting.
However, she gives the answer to Mr. Acosta’s question in her own very clear terms, and we give the transcript of that exchange here (courtesy of Deadline Hollywood):
Acosta: “You read off a laundry list of your concerns about the press and then things that you feel were misreported but you did not say that the press is not the enemy of the people. I think it would be a good thing if you were to state right here at this briefing that the press, the people who are gathered in this room right now, doing their jobs every day, asking questions of officials like the ones you brought forward earlier, are not the enemy of the people. I think we deserve that.”
Sanders: (after first chastising Acosta for interrupting) “It’s ironic, Jim, that not only you and the media attack the president for his rhetoric when they frequently lowered the level of conversation in this country. Repeatedly, repeatedly the media resorts to personal attacks without any content other than to incite anger. …The media has attacked me personally on a number of occasions, including your own network, said I should be harassed as a life sentence, said I should be choked…When I was hosted by the correspondence association you brought up a comedian to attack me. As far as I know I’m the first press secretary in the history of the United States that’s required Secret Service protection.
“The media continues to ratchet up the verbal assault against the president and everyone in this administration and certainly we have a role to play but the media has to role to play for the discourse in this country as well.”
Acosta: “You did not say in the course of those remarks that you just made that the press is not the enemy of the people…We all get put through the wringer, we all get put through the meat grinder in this town and you’re no exception and I’m sorry that happened to you. I wish that did not happen.
“But for the sake of this room, for the people in this room, this democracy, this country, all the people around the world are watching what you’re saying, Sarah, and the White House for the United States of America, the president of the United States should not refer to us as the enemy of the people? His own daughter acknowledges that and all I’m asking is you to do, Sarah, is to acknowledge that right now and right here.”
Sanders: (finishing the question) “I appreciate your passion. I share it. I’ve addressed this question. I’ve addressed my personal feelings. I’m here to speak on behalf of the president. He’s made his statements clear.”