I hate this, and I’m not exactly sure why. There are so many better things to be angry about in 2019, but somehow Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ insistence that Donald Trump doesn’t just read a lot, but more than anyone she knows, is hitting all the right rage censors. It happened on Fox News, of course, and you can watch the clip below if you’ve been feeling too serene lately and want to mix things up:
Huckabee Sanders does not work in the White House anymore, but she was Trump’s press secretary until this summer, and it seems that relative to everyone else who has left his employ lately, it was fairly peaceful and perhaps even friendly. Ish. Maybe that’s why she’s still making the cable news rounds defending him, or maybe she just misses the limelight and is jockeying for a return to prominence (likely by running for governor in Arkansas). Clearly, she’ll do anything—this is a woman who once said with a straight face that God wanted Donald Trump to become president.
We’ve known for a long time that she’s a liar, and the Mueller Report proved it, so why does this particular instance feel so infuriating? After all, it’s probably the least important and least damaging of the lies she’s told.
And maybe that’s it—the sheer egregiousness of the lie. It’s so dumb, so patently false, and so unnecessary that it’s the “insult to injury” of her entire lying career. A multitude of sources close to Trump have confirmed that, in fact, he really doesn’t like to read, so the concept of him sitting around poring over boxes and boxes of papers is ludicrous. Here’s what really happens, as compiled by GQ:
This is the same Trump who once claimed that “my primary consultant is myself” when it comes to foreign affairs. In 2017, The Washington Post reported that Trump told his subordinates that “he favors concise points boiled down to a single page,” and “also has encouraged his briefers to include as many visual elements as possible.”
Vice later reported that Trump received twice-daily briefings of 20- to 25-page documents that consisted of “screenshots of positive cable news chyrons (those lower-third headlines and crawls), admiring tweets, transcripts of fawning TV interviews, praise-filled news stories, and sometimes just pictures of Trump on TV looking powerful.”
Furthermore, it’s not important. People opposed to Trump know he doesn’t read, and I’d wager that most supporters of Trump don’t care, or even see it as a mark in his favor.
So why lie about it? Because, simply put, lying is what liars do. She’s a toxic person who was perfectly suited to her work in the White House, and now that she’s in a different job, she can’t help herself from spinning more flimsy, deceitful webs. In the political hell that is 2019, she’ll go far.