Stephanopoulos Badgers Sanders to Accept Disputed Atlantic Trump-Trashing Tale


Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders appeared on Good Morning America today to tout her new memoir about life in the White House, but anchor George Stephanopoulos instead spent the majority of the interview arguing with her over whether or not President Trump hates the military.

After asking Sanders if she wanted to be back working for Trump, he moved on to grill her about the controversial and disputed Atlantic piece that accused the president of saying nasty things about fallen soldiers. As Sanders pushed back, Stephanopoulos kept badgering her: 

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s talk about that “Atlantic” article causing such an uproar. You said you didn’t hear him make those disparaging remarks about the military. But how do you explain why General John Kelly, who was the President’s Chief of Staff at the time, hasn’t come forward to deny the allegations? His silence is pretty deafening. 

… Your book comes out the same day as Michael Cohen, of course he’s the president’s former lawyer comes out with a very different book blasting the president calling him a racist, a liar, saying he’s willing to manipulate the ballots in order to win the election. It follows the books of John Bolton, the National Security Advisor who called him a danger to the republic and comments from James Mattis, the former Pentagon Secretary, Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State, all highly critical. How do you explain why they have such a different take on the president from the take you have

SANDERS: Well, I think it’s really simple. I think mine is actually the honest account. You’re looking at people who have left as disgruntled employees, people who tried to push their own agenda. Let’s remember only two people were elected in 2016, George–

STEPHANOPOULOS: All of them, the Secretary of State, the Pentagon Secretary? 

SANDERS: I’m sorry, let’s not forget whose agenda was selected by the American people. Over 63 million people came out and overwhelmingly put their stamp down that they wanted Donald Trump to be their president. Not John Bolton, not Rex Tillerson, not James Mattis. They wanted Donald Trump and they wanted his agenda. And these are individuals who had a very different agenda than the president–

STEPHANOPOULOS: Why did the president pick them?

SANDERS: You’re going to have friction when those moments happen and they have to remember that Donald Trump is the only one that was president and it was his agenda that was meant to be carried out. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: They were chosen by the president for those jobs. 

Stephanopoulos didn’t even mention that Bolton’s own book disputed the Atlantic story.

But when an anti-Trump book comes out from a former member of the administration, the media is quick to promote it, spending days and weeks salivating over the author’s controversial claims. He could’ve asked Sanders about any of the personal anecdotes in her book about President Trump or her comments about the role of journalists. But he chose not to.

Volvo and Consumer Cellular sponsored this segment. You can contact them by following the links given.

Read the transcript below:

ABC’s Good Morning America

9/8/2020

7:41:12A-7:47:10AM EST

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Back now with Sarah Huckabee Sanders out with a new book “Speaking for myself: Faith, freedom and the fight for our lives, inside the Trump White House,” a memoir focused on her tumultuous two years as the president’s press secretary. Welcome back to GMA. Good to see you this morning. Your book makes clear you have respect and affection for President Trump and he’s fighting from behind in these last eight weeks of the campaign. Any part of you want to be back in the fray?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS: Look, I love the president and I love getting to be part of what he’s doing from this side. I think you say he’s fighting from behind but I think he’s been fighting since the day he first ran for office back before 2016. This is a person who has had to fight for every single step, every single moment since he started his career in politics and I think that’s what he does best. I think that’s why he won in 2016. I think that’s why he’ll win again in 2020. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s talk about that “Atlantic” article causing such an uproar. You said you didn’t hear him make those disparaging remarks about the military. But how do you explain why General John Kelly, who was the President’s Chief of Staff at the time, hasn’t come forward to deny the allegations. His silence is pretty deafening. 

SANDERS: That’s a question you’d have to ask General Kelly. What I can tell you I was there that day. I was part of those conversations. And those things didn’t happen. But not only, George, was I there that day but I spent more time with the president over 2 1/2 years than just about anybody outside of his family and I saw a president who loves this country, who loves the men and women of our armed forces. I sat with him in the Oval Office as he had to make that awful call to let a parent know that their son had been killed in Afghanistan. At no time other than that moment have I seen the president show his heart more, show his vulnerability more than in that time. That’s because he understands the sacrifice those people are making, nothing could be further from the truth than the fact that this is a president who loves our country and loves and respects the men and women who fight for it and protect it and allow the rest of us to live in it. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: Sarah, you just said something I want to clarify. You said you were with the president when he called the family to notify them their son had been killed in Afghanistan. I thought it was military protocol that it was always the military that went in person to see the parents. Are you talking about a condolence call? 

SANDERS:  Yes, correct. A condolence call after that individual had been notified. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: Your book comes out the same day as Michael Cohen, of course he’s the president’s former lawyer comes out with a very different book blasting the president calling him a racist, a liar, saying he’s willing to manipulate the ballots in order to win the election. It follows the books of John Bolton, the National Security Advisor who called him a danger to the republic and comments from James Mattis, the former Pentagon Secretary, Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State, all highly critical. How do you explain why they have such a different take on the president from the take you have

SANDERS: Well, I think it’s really simple. I think mine is actually the honest account. You’re looking at people who have left as disgruntled employees, people who tried to push their own agenda. Let’s remember only two people were elected in 2016, George–

STEPHANOPOULOS: All of them, the Secretary of State, the Pentagon Secretary — 

SANDERS: I’m sorry, let’s not forget whose agenda was selected by the American people. Over 63 million people came out and overwhelmingly put their stamp down that they wanted Donald Trump to be their president. Not John Bolton, not Rex Tillerson, not James Mattis. They wanted Donald Trump and they wanted his agenda. And these are individuals who had a very different agenda than the president–

STEPHANOPOULOS: Why did the president pick them?

SANDERS: You’re going to have friction when those moments happen and they have to remember that Donald Trump is the only one that was president and it was his agenda that was meant to be carried out. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: They were chosen by the president for those jobs. 

SANDERS: And certainly having a difference of opinion is not a bad thing and I think that’s one of the reasons the president has been successful. He’s willing to listen to those people but at the end of the day it’s his decision to make and I think he’s done a fantastic job doing that moving our country forward and delivering on the promises that he said. I think my story is very candid, very authentic and shows you a different side of the president that you’re not going to see on the news media and certainly not from some people that left not necessarily on their own terms. 

STEPHANOPOULOS:You are the first press secretary that was a mom while press secretary. That is a real balancing act doing that. What did you learn from the experience? 

SANDERS: I learned a lot. I think being a mom probably helped prepare me to be press secretary. I’ve often said that I learned how to say no an awful lot. As a mom and, again, in the press briefing room, I learned that I had to be very consistent and repeat myself and say the same thing over and over again which is much like dealing with my kids. Sometimes it can be extremely challenging, I think it’s one of the hardest things we see in our society are moms who are trying to find that perfect balance. It’s one of the things I write about pretty significantly in my book speaking for myself but I think being a mom made me a better press secretary and being a press secretary for Donald Trump, I think, made me a better mom. It reminded me why I wanted to serve because I want my kids to grow up in an America that I love and in an America that is still the greatest country on the face of the Earth. I’m proud of the work that we did and I’m proud that my kids got to see me do that and see our family serve and sacrifice in the way that we did. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: Running for governor of Arkansas? 

SANDERS: We’ll see. Right now my focus is on the 2020 election, helping get the president re-elected. I’d love to pick up more seats in the senate and take back the House and I’ll make a decision on that after we get through 2020.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Sarah Sanders, thanks very much.

 



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