Appearing on NBC News’ Meet the Press on Sunday morning, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders doubled down on her boss’s endorsement of a totalitarian dictator’s attacks on one of his political opponents—an opponent who also happens to be a former American vice-president.
While overseas during a four-day trip to Japan, President Trump tweeted that he wasn’t bothered by North Korea firing off “some small weapons” because the nation’s brutal leader made him smile “when he called Swampman Joe Biden a low IQ individual.”
“Perhaps that’s sending me a signal?” Trump added.
After Sanders said that Trump “still feels comfortable and confident in his relationship” with Kim despite recent missile tests and that the North Korean dictator will “stay true to the commitment” of denuclearization, host Chuck Todd asked her about the president’s words.
“Can you explain why Americans should not be concerned that the president of the United States is essentially siding with a murderous authoritarian dictator over a former vice president in the United States?” Todd wondered.
“Chuck, the president's not siding with that,” the press secretary asserted before adding, “but I think they agree in their assessment of former Vice President Joe Biden.”
She went on to say that Trump’s focus right now “is the relationship he has” with Kim and that he hopes that relationship will “move us further down the path” of denuclearization.
“The president of the United States takes the North Korean dictator's word about Joe Biden?” Todd exclaimed. “What happened to speaking with one voice in American foreign policy? Is the president not setting up trying to have world leaders sort of pick which political party they should side with? I don't understand what message the president is sending here.”
Sanders insisted that the president “doesn’t need somebody else to give him” an assessment of the former vice-president as he’s given it numerous times already before calling the Obama administration a failure on North Korea.
The supplicancy the White House spokesperson showed in this interview, meanwhile, is hardly surprising. Just days earlier, she was one of a handful of senior White House aides Trump trotted out in front of the press to vouch for his calm demeanor and insist that he did not have a temper tantrum in a White House meeting with Democratic leader.