White House press secretary Sarah Sanders held her first briefing in three weeks today and with a huge hurricane heading for the east coast one would think Sanders might open with a briefing on the storm, but instead it was a report on the economy.
The worst hurricane to hit coastal Carolina in a long time is poised to make landfall soon. Would have expected a briefing on that – maybe that’s tomorrow… https://t.co/p1VvaI8POn
— Glenn Thrush (@GlennThrush) September 10, 2018
Brought in to bolster the case was Kevin Hassett, the White House’s chief economist. Hassett soon found himself on the defensive trying to explain a Trump tweet that was wrong.
The GDP Rate (4.2%) is higher than the Unemployment Rate (3.9%) for the first time in over 100 years!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 10, 2018
Hassett admitted Trump made a mistake.
Kevin Hassett says at the White House briefing that this is wrong — the highest number in 10 years instead — and he's not sure where the president got his number. https://t.co/JsChAWEvO1
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) September 10, 2018
Then, reporters questioned the timing of the briefing, coming three days after former President Obama’s remarks last week that Trump shouldn’t get the credit for a strong economy. So what was this? A briefing or a brag-fest? When reporters finally questioned Sanders, no one wanted to talk about the economy. It was all about Anonymous, the writer of the New York Times op-ed that trashed the president. Question one: “Is there anything about what was published by The New York Times that would warrant an investigation by the Department of Justice.” Sanders replied:
“Certainly, if there’s an individual, whether or not, since we don’t know who they are, if that individual is in meetings that where national security is being discussed or other important topics and they are attempting to undermine the executive branch, that would certainly be problematic and something that the department of justice should look into.”
Sarah Sanders held her first White House press briefing in nearly three weeks, and reporters told her to her face that the anonymous New York Times op-ed from someone who works in the White House was not against the law. https://t.co/R2FwzHwN01 pic.twitter.com/QpfrrBr5AA
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) September 10, 2018
Sanders was also questioned about Bob Woodward’s book and whether Trump was thinking about suing Woodward over the quotes in the book. Here’s part of Sanders response:
“A number of people have come out and said that Woodward never even reached out to corroborate statements that were attributed to them, which seems incredibly reckless for a book to make such outrageous claims, to not even take the time to get a $10 fact checker.”
Asked if Pres. Trump plans to sue Bob Woodward over his book on the president, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says, "we'll certainly keep you posted on that."
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) September 10, 2018
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 10, 2018
Meanwhile, despite no real signs of denuclearization, it looks like Trump is ready to make nice with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un again. Sanders said:
“Yeah, the president has received the letter from Kim Jong-Un. It was a very warm, very positive letter… The primary purpose of the letter was to request and look to schedule another meeting with the president, which we are open to and in the process of coordinating that.”
Sarah Huckabee Sanders is sure that North Korea is totally, definitely gonna denuclearize because there was a parade…and a nice letter… pic.twitter.com/S2o6du8igy
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) September 10, 2018
One big issue missing from the briefing today was one of the most important to the future of the country. We aren’t sure why no reporters asked about Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.
Number of questions in the White House press briefing about the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, who could reshape the law and America for decades: ZERO
Number about the anonymous op-ed, which changes nothing: I lost track but so many
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) September 10, 2018
Watch the full briefing above.