Newly embattled White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday lashed out at congressional Democrats and reporter April Ryan as President Donald Trump and his team began their first week following release of Robert S. Mueller III’s report.
Democratic lawmakers wasted little time Thursday calling for her ouster following the special counsel’s report that detailed several instances in which Sanders misled reporters, especially about Trump’s decision-making before he fired then-FBI Director James Comey. Ryan, an American Urban Radio Networks reporter who provides analysis for CNN, followed that night by calling for the same during an appearance on the network’s “Outfront” program.
“Not only does [Sanders] not have any credibility left, she lied,” Ryan said. “She outright lied and the people, the American people can’t trust her. They can’t trust what’s said from the president’s mouthpiece — spokesperson — from the people’s house. Therefore, she should be let go. She should be fired. End of story.
“When there is a lack of credibility there, you have to start ... lopping the heads off,” Ryan added. “It’s ‘Fire Me Thursday’ or ‘Fire Me Good Friday,’ — she needs to go.”
Watch: ‘President did nothing wrong,’ Sanders says
Sanders fired back on Monday, criticizing both Ryan and other members of the White House press corps.
“Look, I've had reporters say a lot of things about me. They said I should be choked. They said I should deserve a lifetime of harassment,” she told Fox News without naming names. “But, I certainly never had somebody saying that I should be decapitated.
“This takes us to a new low even for the liberal media. I think it just once again proves why this journalist isn’t taken seriously,” Sanders said of Ryan, who has clashed with the president and his press team before.
Sanders said several times during her brief Fox hit — she has not briefed the media in the James Brady briefing room this month, holding just two formal briefings all year after Trump told her to pull the plug on the once-daily events — that the White House wants to “move on” from Mueller’s investigation.
“And I think our team needs to remain focused on how we keep pushing those things that actually help Americans and not engage in these petty fights with journalists simply that, again, shouldn’t be taken seriously,” she said. “I don't think [they] are taken seriously and are just looking for a couple more minutes on TV. … And frankly, I think it's time to move on.”
Perhaps one reason she is eager to "move on" is the president, after first dubbing Mueller’s report “great,” has soured on the 448-page document that paints his West Wing as a chaotic place where his top aides have ignored his orders to break the law. He spent the weekend criticizing the report with tweets from his Mar-a-Lago resort in South Florida.
Can you believe that I had to go through the worst and most corrupt political Witch Hunt in the history of the United States (No Collusion) when it was the “other side” that illegally created the diversionary & criminal event and even spied on my campaign? Disgraceful!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2019
How do you impeach a Republican President for a crime that was committed by the Democrats? MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2019
But with some House Democrats calling for impeachment proceedings even though Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer remain opposed, Trump’s controversial spokeswoman slammed the opposition party’s reaction to the special counsel’s findings.
“I think that the country is going to benefit a great deal by having President Trump for another six years. And I think it’s sad what Democrats are doing. They have the option, they could be working with the president to solve some of the big problems,” Sanders said.
“So far, the President’s done it on his own, but he’d be happy to work with Democrats and see that impact double,” said added, listing legislation to lower prescription drug prices, helping military veterans and further growing the economy as possible issues ripe for bipartisan cooperation. “Continuing to attack the president is not a winning message.”
To that end, however, the White House has not yet floated proposals for those issues that could get out of the Democratic-controlled House. And House Democratic lawmakers and aides say they do not view the Trump White House has honest negotiators who actually want to work with anyone but Republicans to write legislation.
“No one views the White House as credible on this issue,” a senior House Democratic aide told Roll Call earlier this month after White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney was on Capitol Hill talking to Senate Democrats about some kind of border security deal. “Constantly talking out of both sides of their mouths.”
Meantime, Trump will not green-light exemptions on Iranian sanctions when they are slated to sunset early next month, Sanders said in a statement. “This decision is intended to bring Iran’s oil exports to zero, denying the regime its principal source of revenue,” Sanders said.
“The United States, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, three of the world’s great energy producers, along with our friends and allies, are committed to ensuring that global oil markets remain adequately supplied,” she added. “We have agreed to take timely action to assure that global demand is met as all Iranian oil is removed from the market.”