Sarah Huckabee Sanders made her debut as a Fox News contributor today, but it could hardly have been more seamless. “You went from press secretary to confidante,” Brian Kilmeade observed, and Huckabee Sanders made it clear that she intends to keep that status. “My experience was positive,” she replies, “and my book will be extremely positive,” a statement that certainly pleased her former boss:
During an interview on the network’s morning show “Fox & Friends,” President Donald Trump’s former spokeswoman signaled she will continue to serve as a vocal and loyal defender of her old boss from her new perch at his favorite network.
“They still see me as somebody who is a very pro-Trump supporter. I’m not going to change my position,” Sanders said when asked about criticism she has faced in public places from the president’s detractors.
“It would be very odd to go from doing what I was doing, to all of a sudden doing something different,” she added. “I loved my experience. I loved working for the president. I think he has been able to do some tremendous things for the country, and I look forward to watching him do it for six more years.”
Message sent … and message received:
Great interview of Sarah Sanders by @foxandfriends. She is a terrific person with a great future!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 6, 2019
In other words, don’t expect any lawsuits involving Huckabee Sanders’ non-disclosure agreement. (Madeleine Westerhout should take notes.)
There’s no doubt that Huckabee Sanders is sincere in her outlook. She’s not leaving out of disillusionment, nor push out like John Kelly or James Mattis. She has no reason to offer a “season of silence” because she’s still a true believer. Nothing wrong with that, of course, although it may be a novelty among former Trump administration officials. These days, publicly sticking with Trump support might even qualify as a Profile In Courage. (On other news networks, anyway.)
However, Kilmeade touches on another reason that Huckabee Sanders wants to maintain a sunny outlook on the Trump White House. Kilmeade awkwardly asks her about her gubernatorial ambitions in Arkansas before quickly retreating, realizing that a direct answer would make it her first and last appearance as a Fox News contributor. Trump himself floated the idea when Huckabee Sanders announced her departure, and she’s been reportedly discussing the idea seriously. Trump won Arkansas by 27 points in 2016, and Republicans swept the House races in 2018 in the middle of a moderate Democratic wave. Asa Hutchinson won his gubernatorial re-election bid that same year by almost 34 points.
It’ll be three more years before Huckabee Sanders will get a shot at the office, when Hutchinson runs into term limits and will have to leave the seat open. If she wants to run for that seat, she won’t improve her chances at it by becoming a Trump critic, especially one who betrays her “confidante” to benefit herself. Expect plenty more sessions on the Fox & Friends couch like this debut … which is apparently what Fox wants, too.