Reviews | Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the queen of two senses
She understands his motto in a party that would like to be able to claim more diversity than it has and appear a bit more modern than it does. “I happen to be the youngest governor currently serving in the country,” she said during those inaugural remarks, just to mention it.
She opted for relativity: “As a mother, I remember what is at stake every time I put my three children to bed every night.”
She claims a political identity distinct from that of Trump. But his imprint on her is indelible – and she hasn’t made much effort, not that I know of, to erase it. Maybe she’s not willing to sacrifice the benefits it still brings.
Or maybe she appreciates the futility of trying to take such a break. She was not just one of many Trump administration officials who ignored his glowing comments about white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va., his praise of autocrats, his flirtations with autocracy, his cruelty to children migrants, his sectarian tirades, his silence, porn star money, his spooky dishonesty. She turned them into a strong and inspiring leadership fantasy.
“His briefings are breathtaking,” I wrote in a 2017 column. “For about 20 minutes each afternoon, the bottom is up, paralysis is progress, enmity is harmony, stupid is the smart, the bad guy is the victim, shame is honor, plutocracy is populism and Hillary Clinton colluded with Russia if anyone had the guts to investigate her (because, you know, that never, ever happens).
His motives? She made it clear that she cherishes Trump’s outspoken opposition to abortion and the promises he’s made — and kept — in this regard. And so she downplayed and rationalized all the ways he blatantly offended Christian principles.
But then she’s the queen of having it both ways. She punched reporters in public — the base eats that — then got nice to them in private. She’ll focus on bread-and-butter issues one minute and the next push an Arkansas bill that would ban drag performances outside of strip clubs and similar settings (as if , says Miller, “she never enjoyed bottomless mimosas and lip-synching with girls”).