At debate, Sarah Sanders defends avoiding Arkansas press conference at White House
It didn’t take long for political observers to question the White House during its first days in office.
Sanders, an ardent Democrat, appeared to go into overdrive and did not hide her discomfort with appearing at President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Some thought she didn’t want to do so because she has been under intense pressure over her ties to the campaign of former White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, who made herself an instant star in White House by pushing her husband, Reince Priebus, out as chief of staff.
But many also thought that Sanders wanted to avoid any potential controversy, and the White House and Sanders both indicated it was because of potential press scrutiny on the president’s attendance, which occurred in the first weeks of his presidency.
Sanders’ press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, did not appear in Washington on Monday when Trump made a surprise visit to the White House to speak with the press.
Sanders’ public relations director pushed back against the criticism of her appearance.
“Sarah is here to answer questions and talk about White House issues,” Melissa Miller said in a statement. “If she is asked about any issue, she will be more than happy to discuss it.”
And while the White House was holding off on Sanders’ appearance, it was already making plans to avoid giving any press briefing or other public announcement in Arkansas.
“One of the first things the president will do when he takes office is turn Arkansas over to his staff,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said at a news conference at the White House on Monday. “That means no press briefing, no White House events, no press availability, no White House press corps availability.”
Some state and national press was still able to attend the inauguration.
“I think on the whole, it was a good turnout,”