Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who served as White House Press Secretary, is one tough act. The friend and confidante of President Donald Trump took cheap shots from the media and the public for over two years, while keeping her cool.
In her memoir and bestselling book, Speaking for Myself, Sanders writes nothing was off-limits to Trump haters. Critics mocked her makeup, her weight, her clothes, also claiming she lacked “fitness to be a mother.” She writes about the morning she walked her child to class, and a mother told her she was an awful human being and spat on the windshield of her car.
Who can forget when the co-owner of The Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Va., kicks her out of the restaurant with her family for working in the Trump administration. Eventually, she needed Secret Service security after receiving death threats.
Taking on Her Critics
When asked why she wasn’t wearing a full-body armor on the cover of the book depicting her tough persona, she laughs — telling CNJ she should of “worn it during press briefings.” Even her former boss calls her a “warrior” as she put one reporter at a time in their respective places.
“They don’t have to agree with your politics. But recognize that women having these high-profile positions are important. As long as you agree with them, it’s important, if you don’t — it doesn’t seem to matter. That was something surprising to see that amount of vitriol.”
Sanders was given a pep talk by Trump while they were walking into bilateral meetings in Japan. The president suddenly stops Sanders and looks her straight in the eye.
“‘Sarah, you’re smart, you’re beautiful, and the reason they attack you is because you’re good at your job. Do not let them get you down,'” she recalls, “He used a few more colorful words than that, but he slapped me on the shoulder — ‘Now, let’s get back to work.'”
Sanders was part of various events and nerve-wracking meetings. Nothing compares to meeting with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore in 2018.
“There was a certain level of tension — you’re not going in there to chit-chat about light topics,” says Sanders. “I think that is one of the things the president does masterfully. In that moment, I saw it so clearly, he was able to weave in lighthearted topics to get him [Kim] talking and to create conversation. He didn’t back down from the ultimate goal, that was to focus on the denuclearization and what that looked like for North Korea.”
Trump and Kim talked about sports, Western culture. They chatted about the NBA, golf and football in a matter of an hour. The president also offered the dictator a Tic Tac, and Kim indeed flirted with Sanders (you can read more about this in the book).
Trump didn’t stop with North Korea. Two years later, a member of the Norwegian Parliament of the far-right Progress Party nominates Trump for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize in September after brokering the historic Israel-UAE peace deal. His name is put forth again for brokering a landmark economic agreement between Serbia and Kosovo.
Sanders talking via phone from Arkansas, isn’t shocked.
“Obama got it for unleashing chaos and uncertainly, allowing ISIS to run rapid across the Middle East. Donald Trump has gotten two historic peace deals done as well as start conversations with North Korea that never existed, put pressure on China, helped defeat the ISIS caliphate,” she says. “I think he’s got a pretty good track record to be nominated.”
Sanders Credits God
Sanders credits God for sustaining her through trials. The mom of three shares her faith was strengthened during her time at the White House.
“It gave me the confidence to step on that stage and behind that podium and take on my critics. I didn’t need anyone to define me. I didn’t need the New York Times or Washington Post to tell me who I was. I already had a Creator whose given me purpose.” A well-known New Testament verse that has and does help her today is from Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
Some speculate Sanders will run for governor of Arkansas. The next gubernatorial election in Arkansas is in 2022. Her father, Mike Huckabee, is the former governor of the state. However, as a media pro, she neither denies nor confirms if it’s a rumor. Her goals are to take care of her family and help Trump win reelection on Nov. 3. One thing is certain; her experience as press secretary was an adventure, while unfortunately revealing the truth about those who disagree with a person’s politics.
Corine Gatti-Santillo is an editor, reporter and web content strategist for CNJ.