The untold truth of Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Sarah Huckabee Sanders made a big splash when she took over the role of White House press secretary in July 2017. Replacing Sean Spicer, Sanders quickly made a name for herself, gaining infamy in the media for her brusque attitude and testy interactions with reporters. Responsible for briefing members of the press and answering their probing questions about President Donald J. Trump and his administration, Huckabee Sanders also has another mission. As the official White House spokesperson, she attempts to maintain good PR for Trump & Co., even if it's not always so easy. There's little wonder that Huckabee Sanders has found herself in the spotlight as the subject of much public and media scrutiny.

So, what's the untold story behind Donald Trump's lady of the lectern? Keep reading to learn all about Huckabee Sanders' backstory and private life, as well as some of her juicy celebrity feuds and high-profile scandals. 

She had beef with the Girl Scouts

Look up "people you don't want to mess with," and you might be surprised to find the Girl Scouts of America somewhere on that list. Sarah Huckabee Sanders learned this debatable truth the hard way in February 2017, when she appeared on ABC's This Week with George Stephanapoulos and used a metaphor referencing the group to explain why Trump wouldn't be attending the White House Correspondents Dinner. She told Stephanapoulos, "You know, one of the things we say in the South [is] 'If a Girl Scout egged your house, would you buy cookies from her?' I think that this is a pretty similar scenario." Cue the controversy. According to SFGateGirl Scout leadership groups took to social media to respond, with irate users posting comments such as "Girl Scouts are not known for throwing eggs. They are GIRL SCOUTS!"

She uses kids to drive home her messages

Huckabee Sanders has relied on children a number of times to get her message across — and has faced a lot of criticism for doing so. At a July 2017 press briefing, she read a letter written to President Trump by a child who called himself "Pickle." The note said, "I'm 9 years old and you are my favorite president. I like you so much I had a birthday about you. My cake was the shape of your hat." According to The New York Times, "Reporters called it a transparent attempt to distract from numerous scandals roiling the White House." In August 2017, Huckabee Sanders opened a press briefing by reading a letter from a kid named "Frank," who wrote: "It would be my honor to mow the White House lawn for some weekend for you. Even though I'm only 10 I'd like to show the nation what young people like me are ready for." According to The Hill, Huckabee Sanders connected the boy's letter to Trump's immigration proposals. Frank did get to cut the grass at the White House, by the way.

A mother of three, Huckabee Sanders frequently references the "chaos" of her own home in comparison to the White House, prompting one reporter to tell The New York Times, "If she tells me one more story about how three preschoolers can be more chaotic than a hundred and some odd reporters in the White House press office, I'll even volunteer to babysit."

She threw sexist shade at Nancy Pelosi

The day after Trump's 2018 State of the Union Address, Huckabee Sanders appeared on CNN to discuss the president's speech and to make some arguably lame comments about House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (who sat mostly straight-faced throughout the address.) When host Chris Cuomo asked Huckabee Sanders what she thought Trump could do to bring the country together in the wake of his speech, Huckabee Sanders tartly replied, "I think doing exactly what he did last night … I think [Pelosi] should smile a lot more often. I think the country would be better for it … She seems to kind of embody the bitterness that belongs in the Democrat party right now…"

According to the New York Daily News, many criticized those comments for perceived misogynistic undertones, particularly in the wake of the #MeToo movement. Vogue also pointed out the irony of the situation, sassily taking into account "Sanders's own now infamous perma-grimace." 

She faced off against The View

Huckabee Sanders appeared with her father on The View in September 2017, and as expected, she faced some dissenting opinions from the show's outspoken hosts. After Huckabee Sanders expressed her hope that the media would more "fairly" cover the president, Joy Behar fired back: "Is the media not supposed to report on the fact that 95 percent of what [Trump] says is a lie?" Behar then told the press secretary, "I feel sorry for you that you have to go out and defend those lies every day." 

Co-host Whoopi Goldberg also pressed Huckabee Sanders, asking where she thought former President Barack Obama had been born and if he was an American citizen (a reference to Trump's infamous "birther" claims.) For her part, Huckabee Sanders just kind of hemmed and hawed, ignoring the question. You can watch the whole awkward exchange here

Her looks continue to be a topic of conversation

One would hope we'd be past the point where we're still regularly picking apart the way women look, but unfortunately, some prefer to reside in the dark ages. Although Sarah Huckabee Sanders has taken shots at other women, she's also been scrutinized for her looks and fashion choices. In columnist David Horsey's November 2017 piece for the Los Angeles Times, he wrote that Huckabee Sanders resembled "a slightly chunky soccer mom who organizes snacks for the kids' games … Sanders seems as if she'd be more comfortable in sweats and running shoes." He quickly faced an avalanche of accusations of sexism, and, as The New York Times reported, later apologized. "She's a mom … She's someone you can kind of identify with. That's what I had in my head … It can be taken as a much nastier shot, and believe it or not, I didn't mean it that way." 

In an August 2017 piece, The New York Times also detailed the significance of Huckabee Sanders' appearance and fashion choices. The paper remarked, "No matter her words, they are framed by a style steeped in cheerful Hallmark history. That is bound to inform how they are received."

She traded barbs with Hillary Clinton

Sarah Huckabee Sanders took a swipe at Hillary Clinton at a press briefing on Sept. 12, 2017 while discussing Clinton's book What Happened, which narrates Clinton's experiences during her unsuccessful 2016 presidential campaign. "I think its sad that after Hillary Clinton ran one of the most negative campaigns in history and lost, and the last chapter of her public life is now going to be defined by propping up book sales with false and reckless attacks," Huckabee Sanders told the press, per Time.

The next day, Clinton appeared on The View to discuss her book, and she responded to co-host Sunny Hostin's questions about Huckabee Sanders' statement. "You know, I honestly don't pay much attention to what she says," Clinton said. "…Let's not take all these important issues that we're facing and try to put them into the alternative reality world of alternate facts."

A joke got her in trouble

In January 2018, Huckabee Sanders stirred things up when she used the official @PressSec account to tweet a complaint about her son ordering a batman toy from Amazon, writing: "Alexa, we have a problem if my 2 year old can order a Batman toy by yelling "Batman!" over and over again into the Echo." Ha ha… no. 

As the A.V. Club  describes, former White House Ethics Chief Walter Shaub quickly stepped in to remind Huckabee Sanders that there are very specific guidelines for what White House staffers can use official accounts to discuss, and botched Amazon orders aren't among them. Shaub tweeted, "I know this WH's ethics office is next to useless, so here's a rule of thumb for complying with 5 C.F.R. § 2635.702: Avoid discussing purchases from private companies on your govt account. Remember that, as the most visible face of the Admin, others in govt will follow your lead," adding, "Employees throughout govt look to you to set an example because tone from the top matters. Do better."

She met her husband on the campaign trail

Sarah married her husband, Bryan Sanders, on May 25, 2010, in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. According to The Hillthe couple met when she hired him and one of his colleague to work on her father's 2008 presidential campaign in Iowa. She told the site, "They were both kind of cute, [so I said,] 'Well, we might be able to work something out' — kidding a little bit there." Tee-hee.

According to Bustle, Bryan has long been active in the political field himself and at the time of this writing, he works as a conservative campaign consultant with the Wickers Group. This political power couple has three children — two daughters and a son, all of whom make frequent appearances on their parents' social media pages (and sometimes in their mom's briefings).

Her family is deep in politics

As the daughter of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a one-time Baptist pastor and owner of a Christian TV network, Sarah Huckabee Sanders has deep political family ties. According to Newsweek, she even worked on her father's campaigns as a little girl. "When other elementary school kids were outside playing chase and jumping rope, she was sitting at the kitchen table listening to Dick Morris do poll results and analyzing cross-tabs," he told Yahoo!. 

"I'm my dad's biggest fan," she told The Hill in 2010. From a young age, "I was stuffing envelopes … knocking on doors … putting up yard signs … anything he wanted to do, I wanted to be a part of." She worked on her father's 2008 presidential campaign, supervising staffers, blogging, and helping him prepare for debates, reported Yahoo!. In 2015, she was campaign manager during his second bid for president, eventually joining the Trump campaign as a senior adviser when her dad dropped out. "

She's worked for numerous campaigns

In addition to working for the president and for her father's various campaigns, Sarah Huckabee Sanders has held down a number of other campaign-related gigs over the years, beefing up her resume with numerous positions supporting Republicans. According to Newsweek, she served as the campaign manager during Arkansas Republican John Boozman's successful 2010 run for Senate. In 2014, she was an adviser on the winning campaign of Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton.

But not all of her political ventures end in victory. A year after Boozman's big win, Huckabee Sanders helped run former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's 2011 campaign for presidency, serving as a senior political adviser. That campaign didn't work out so well. Pawlenty withdrew from the race in August 2011, offering his support to past rival and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (via The Atlantic).

Believe it or not, she has praised Obama

Believe it or not, Sarah Huckabee Sanders once (gasp!) praised President Barack Obama in a national news outlet. 

When she was named a "40 under 40" by Time magazine in 2010, Huckabee Sanders responded to a question about the most overlooked issue in America by saying, "America needs more fathers taking an active role in their children's lives. Kids who are the victims of broken families are more likely to end up in poverty, rehab, or jail. I'm a Republican, but I respect President Obama for setting the right example and addressing this problem. I hope more people will join him in his efforts." Many chaotic press briefings and one anti-Obama president later, it seems almost impossible to believe she once uttered those words of praise.