Former Trump aide’s fiery Aussie interview
The former White House press secretary has defended US President Donald Trump in a fiery interview with Leigh Sales, saying she doesn't expect "perfection" from him.
Sales grilled Sarah Huckabee Sanders on ABC's 7.30 about how she could "reconcile" her Christian faith with being a spokesman for Mr Trump, who she said had "misled the American people on everything from coronavirus to climate change".
Sanders dismissed claims Mr Trump was a liar and failed leader, calling some of the questions Sales put to her "patently false".
"Certainly I think he's been cleaning up a lot of messes that were left behind by previous administrations," Sanders said.
"He signed one of the most historic and large tax cuts in our country's history. He also signed a historic trade agreement between the US, Canada and Mexico. He wiped the ISIS caliphate off the map."
Sales used an example from the previous day, where Mr Trump was briefed by the Californian Secretary of Natural Resources on the wildfires in the state and climate change.
"The President replied, 'It will start getting cooler'." The secretary replied, 'I wish science agreed with you.' The President then replied, 'I don't think science knows actually'," Sales said.
Sales asked Sanders: "Was that a display of lying, ignorance or insanity?"
But Sanders said the President's discussions with the Governor were enough of a step.
"I think what happened yesterday was important. The President going, having that briefing, sitting down with the Governor of California who is a Democrat, complimented the President and the Federal Government's efforts and response and providing resources to California yesterday," Sanders said.
"It was a listening session to gather more information and we'll see what the President does following that. I'm not in the administration so I can't speak to what next steps they will take."
"You're not addressing my point which is that he said that he thinks science doesn't know that the planet is warming," Sales said.
"The Washington Post fact check unit has found during his presidency so far Donald Trump has made false or misleading claims to the American people more than 20,000 times."
Sanders dismissed this, saying the media had no "credibility".
"I think the media has spent the bulk of the President's entire tenure creating fake and misleading stories, not giving good information to the American people, and I don't think they should continue to come after this President who has had a very strong record of success, even his Democrat adversaries in other states, governors from both New York and California, have praised him recently for some of the efforts from the Federal Government," Sanders said.
Sales then asked if people were supposed to believe that "every former senior member of the Trump Administration" and Republican Party who has left and spoken out against the President "has an axe to grind", including senior Republican figures like Colin Powell and the late John McCain.
"And all of these lifelong Republicans are in cahoots with the Democrats and they're all also tied up in a conspiracy with the mainstream media, and it's the mainstream media peddling lie after lie. Not Donald Trump?
"That's what you're asking people to believe?"
"Well, I'm asking people to believe the hundreds of other Republican leaders across this country who know and defend this President and talk about all the good things he has done for this country, myself included," Sanders said.
"I worked alongside the President for 2.5 years. I don't have to listen to the opinion of someone like Colin Powell who hasn't spent time with the President and doesn't have that great of a record in his own experience and the things that they did during the Bush Administration."
Sales then asked how Sanders, who is a devout Christian, squares her faith and family values with some of the allegations made against Mr Trump.
"How do you reconcile (your faith) with having been the spokesman for a President that's misled the American people on everything from coronavirus to climate change, boasts about grabbing women on the p**y, paid hush money to a porn star to keep her quiet about their alleged relationship and maligned the men and women of America's armed forces?"
"Some of those things are patently false," Sanders said.
"They're not actually," Sales said.
"But I can tell you from my experience, when the liberal mob was attacking me, when the liberals were kicking me out of restaurants and making fun of my hair, my fitness to be a parent, saying I should be choked, telling me that I'm vile, not even human, it was the President who was defending me, not the liberal mob, not the elitist who claim to be all about women's empowerment but Donald Trump was the one who supported me, defended me and encouraged me and gave me confidence to take on that job."
"I notice you're not addressing the central premise of my question, which is how somebody like Donald Trump squares with the values you espouse," Sales said.
"Look, I don't look to any individual person to give me perfection," Sanders said.
"I'm not looking for a saviour in politics. I have that in my faith.
"There is no perfect person. Only one. As far as I know, he's never run for office. I've never seen Jesus Christ's name on a ballot - If I do I'll be sure to vote for him."
Sales also asked Sanders about her comments about former FBI Director James Comey. Sanders told reporters in 2017 "countless" FBI agents had lost confidence in Comey on the day he was sacked.
She later admitted to the Mueller investigation she'd fabricated these claims.
She urged people to read her new book, where she outlines her belief the Mueller investigation was "nothing but a political hit job to take the President down".
"I knew from the minute I walked in, the fact that I was there voluntarily - also to clarify, not under oath although I would have gladly taken one - and I came not as a target, not as a subject of the investigation and voluntarily participated and they made me feel like a common criminal," Sanders said.
The former press secretary said her mistake was using the word "countless" but said she had received complaints about Comey from former and current members of the FBI.
Originally published as Former Trump aide's fiery Aussie interview