Yesterday we saw one of the most important, contentious, and tricky press conferences in the history of Donald Trump’s disastrous White House. The Rob Porter domestic violence scandal had morphed into a White House coverup scandal, and someone had to go out there to deflect the inevitable tough questions from reporters. At that crucial moment, what the hell was Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah doing out there instead of Sarah Huckabee Sanders?
This was one of those moments when Trump needed his A-Game on all fronts. Trump doesn’t have an A-Game, of course. But when it comes to press briefings, Huckabee Sanders is the best he has, or the least bad he has. She absolutely needed to be out there if the White House wanted any hope of minimizing this exploding scandal even slightly. Sending Raj Shah out there in that moment was ridiculous. There are only a handful of possible explanations as to why Huckabee Sanders was in hiding.
The official excuse was that Huckabee Sanders just happened to start her vacation yesterday (link). But considering the fact that everyone in Trump’s White House is lying all the time, and assuming this is yet another lie, what’s the real reason she wasn’t out there? Was she too disgusted by the fact that her bosses hired an alleged serial wife beater and then conspired to protect him even after the media got wind of it? Did she refuse to do the briefing? She’s eagerly defended Trump when it’s come to his own assaults of various women.
Or is this something else? One of the reasons to send a clueless underling like Shah out there to do a briefing is that he can honestly say he didn’t personally know anything about the coverup while it was going on. But if that was the motivation, then it would mean that Sarah Huckabee Sanders did know about it. As this scandal and coverup gets even uglier, we deserve answers as to why Trump’s Press Secretary didn’t do one of the most important briefings of the past year.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report