In her tenure as White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders became legendary for her ability to lie at the podium.
But according to conservative commentator Andrew Egger, writing for The Bulwark, Sanders’ real “success” for the Trump administration did not come from how frequently she lied — it came from the fact that most of her lies were boring.
This story first ran in June, 2019.
“Her morose, plodding style and Bartlebyesque refusals to grant reporters a single inch of ground poured cold water on news cycle after news cycle that might otherwise have ignited,” wrote Egger. “The downside, of course, was that she lied a lot. But even here she distinguished herself from [predecessor Sean] Spicer, whose sweaty, frantic tall tales—that was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period!—always invited heaps of instant ridicule. Deadpanning her way through boring, misleading briefing after boring, misleading briefing, Sarah Sanders managed to take most of the fun out of calling her out—as much of a victory as Trump could typically hope for, under the circumstances.”
There were certainly some falsehoods so egregious that they did catch the media’s attention. The time that she lied that “countless” FBI agents told her they had lost confidence in former Director James Comey, for example, which she herself admitted to former special counsel Robert Mueller was a lie. And her claim that CNN reporter Jim Acosta had attacked a White House intern, which was the pretext for revoking his press credentials and which she tried to back up with doctored video footage.
But these lies were the exception rather than the rule, said Egger. Most of her ignoble talent lay in her ability to simply deny things, over and over, relentlessly, until reporters just gave up. This has been the norm on everything from reporters asking her questions about the Mueller investigation, to the times the president has glorified the idea of violence against journalists.
“It wasn’t any single heroic act of staggering duplicity that earned Sarah Sanders her paycheck at the White House,” concluded Egger. “It was the mealy spaces between the highlights: the constant barrage of bald denials of plain fact, all delivered in a bored monotone that made them seem not outrageous, or even particularly notable, but simply tiresome. How will they manage to replace that?”
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Marco Rubio: ‘Not a Crime’ to Break Federal Law by Taking Top Secret National Security Documents From the White House
In a rare Fox News moment, host Bret Baier reported that many are concerned about the lack of Republican “alarm” over Donald Trump absconding with at least 15 cartons of documents and other items, some of which were classified, or even “top secret” classified, and storing them in his suite at Mar-a-Lago, compared to the massive coverage the media gave the Hillary Clinton email story.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), who is the Ranking Member on the Intelligence Committee, and also serves on the Foreign Relations Committee, responded by saying “it’s not a crime” to break federal law – the Presidential Records Act of 1978, in this case, by removing the documents or flushing them down the toilet.
It seems odd that the Ranking Member of the Senate Intelligence Committee would be unaware of federal laws about retention of presidential documents, especially handling of classified and top-secret national security documents.
The Florida Republican also suggested Trump had turned over all the missing documents, which is false.
Rubio began by claiming he doesn’t know what’s true because “they” have made up so many stories about Trump “over the years.”
He goes on to suggest, apparently erroneously, that Hillary Clinton’s treatment of classified documents was pleaded in a federal court case.
Rubio: The documents that were at Mar-a-Lago by all accounts were turned over. Look if the process wasn’t followed then there needs to be something that happens about that. It’s not a crime I don’t believe pic.twitter.com/gFMxqSBxHE
— Acyn (@Acyn) February 14, 2022
‘That’s a Lie!’ MSNBC’s Hayes Destroys Kayleigh McEnany for Blatantly False Claim About Trump’s COVID Tests
MSNBC host Chris Hayes on Thursday night played a clip of then-White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany discussing former President Donald Trump’s timeline of COVID-19 test results after he was diagnosed with the virus last year.
Hayes played the clip during a report on former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows’s claim that Trump tested positive for COVID-19 on Sept. 26, prior to his first debate with President Joe Biden.
“All of the evidence points to Trump having COVID, knowing he had COVID, and spending a week spreading it around while covering it up and refusing to admit he’s sick,” Hayes concluded.
He went on to recall that after Trump finally announced he had COVID on Oct. 2, White House officials were “so sketchy” about when he had last tested negative — and then he played the clip of McEnany “trying to evade this simple question” on Oct. 4.
McEnany was responding to a reporter’s question about whether Trump had been tested prior to the debate on Sept. 29, or before a fundraiser in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Oct. 1.
“I’m not going to give you a detailed readout with timestamps of every time the president is tested,” McEnany said. “He’s tested regularly, and the first positive test he received was after his return from Bedminster.”
“Again, I’m not giving a detailed readout of his testing, but it’s safe to say his first positive test was upon return, or at least after, Bedminster, that trip,” McEnany added.
“That’s a lie. We now know, that’s a lie. That clip there is a lie,” Hayes said, recalling that at the time, “the squirrelliness around this was hard to ignore.”
PBS News White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor agreed, saying, “When I watched Kayleigh lie there, it just reminded me of all the different times she lied, so many times, from the podium, from the White House lawn, from the stakeout location where she is in that clip.”
“It really just underscores that this was an administration that was never really playing it straight with the American people,” Alcindor said.
Trump Issues Stunningly False Statement Criticizing Biden for ‘Attack’ on US Oil Reserves
Donald Trump, the disgraced, former president who is reportedly planning a third campaign, on Tuesday released an exceptionally false statement criticizing President Joe Biden for taking action to combat increasing gas and home heating oil prices.
President Biden Tuesday morning announced he has authorized 50 million barrels of oil to be sold from the U.S. Strategic Oil Reserves, a move that should help lower oil and gas prices that have risen because of OPEC+ policies. Biden is making the move in conjunction with similar moves by five other countries: China, India, Japan, South Korea and the U.K.
“We expect the industry to be passing through these savings to consumers as quickly as possible,” a White House official said, as The Wall Street Journal reports.
“The president stands ready to take additional action, if needed, and is prepared to use his full authorities working in coordination with the rest of the world to maintain adequate supply as we exit the pandemic,” the White House added.
Trump, in a statement released to the press, outright lied about Biden’s move, and about his own performance and that of other U.S. Presidents.
“For decades our Country’s very important Strategic Oil Reserves were low or virtually empty in that no President wanted to pay the price of filling them up. I filled them up three years ago, right to the top, when oil prices were very low. Those reserves are meant to be used for serious emergencies, like war, and nothing else,” Trump falsely claimed.
As The New York Times’ Peter Baker notes, the Strategic Oil Reserves (technically the Strategic Petroleum Reserve,) were far from empty when Trump took office, but they were far less full when he left:
Strategic Petroleum Reserve on the day Trump took office: 695 million barrels
Strategic Petroleum Reserve on the day Trump left office: 638 million barrelshttps://t.co/P4esCfDbNB
— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) November 23, 2021
That’s not the only lie Trump told.
The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is authorized to hold up to 714 million barrels (in 2009 it was 727 million barrels), so they were nearly full when Trump took office. He also exposed his ignorance about how the federal government “buys” the oil. The oil is effectively traded to the government as payment (royalties) for drilling leases so presidents not wanting to “pay the price of filling them up” is false as well.
Here’s a graph from the U.S. government showing how many barrels of oil are in the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserves, starting in 1980. At no time were they “low or virtually empty,” not ever. The chart is highlighted to indicate the day Trump was sworn in to office:
The Reserves have been tapped about 20 times since they were first created in 1975, including to reduce the deficit in 1996 and 1997, in 2011 during the Arab Spring, and as loans to oil companies.
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