Things became a bit tense during the first White House press conference since January when reporters started questioning Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders about Trump’s comment that Democrats “hate Jewish people” and whether President Donald Trump denounced Rep. Steve King for his comments supporting white nationalism, Talking Points Memo reports.
Huckabee Sanders skirted the topic by bringing up controversial remarks made earlier by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Mich.) Her comments sparked a congressional resolution which denounced hate speech, Mediaite reports.
Discussing how Omar’s comments should be denounced, Huckabee Sanders said “it should be done the way the Republicans did it when Steve King made terrible comments, we called it by name, we stripped him of his committee memberships, and we’d like to see Democrats follow suit.”
That’s when ABC’s Jon Karl jumped in, asking if Trump has denounced King.
“But first of all, you mentioned Steve King, the president, correct me if I’m wrong, has not condemned Steve King for what he said praising white supremacy,” Karl said. “Has the president publicly come out and said anything criticizing or condemning?”
But Huckabee Sanders skirted the issue again and didn’t comment on whether Trump made a statement or not. Instead, she brought up some of her earlier statements on King.
“I speak on behalf of the president on a number of topics, and I’ve talked about that a number of times, and I would refer you back to those comments where I used words like ‘abhorrent’ and ‘unacceptable.'”
But as TPM’s Matt Shuham notes, Huckabee Sanders was completely unable to name one instance in which Trump denounced King.
— Matt Shuham (@mattshuham) March 11, 2019
Many of the questions centered around Trump’s accusation that Democrats hate Jews. In recent days during public and private appearances, Trump has said he really believes Democrats belong to an anti-Jewish party.
So Karl really wanted to find out if that’s true.
“Does the president really believe Democrats hate Jews?” he asked Huckabee Sanders.
And Huckabee Sanders dodged again.
“Look, the president’s been an unwavering and committed ally to Israel and the Jewish people.”
So NBC’s Hallie Jackson tried another tack. She was pushing for answers on a report by Axios in which Trump told donors that Democrats “hate Jewish people.”
“I am not going to comment on potentially leaked information,” Huckabee Sanders responded. “The president has laid out clearly his position on this matter.”
So Jackson asked the question one more time.
“Does he really believe Democrats hate Jews?”
And one more time, Huckabee Sanders failed to answer the question.
“I think that’s a question you ought to ask the Democrats,” she said.
So she did what she does best. Obfuscate for the president and create more questions with few answers.
You can view Huckabee Sanders in action in the video below.
Featured image by Time via YouTube video