Sanders blames bad information for her false denial of Trump’s involvement in the Stormy Daniels payment. And the bad information clearly came from Trump.
Almost nobody was aware Rudolph W. Giuliani was going to blow up the Stormy Daniels situation Wednesday night, and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Thursday that this included her. “The first awareness I had was during the interview last night,” Sanders said of Giuliani’s disclosure that President Trump had reimbursed Michael Cohen.
But what was most notable was how Sanders basically blamed Trump for her own contradictory statements about Daniels.
Back in March, Sanders denied Trump knew about the payment and said it was based upon her own conversation with Trump. “I’ve had conversations with the president about this,” she said. “This case has already been won in arbitration, and there was no knowledge of any payments from the president, and he has denied all these allegations.”
Asked Thursday about these comments and the White House’s general trustworthiness, Sanders didn’t even try to put a good face on it or square her comments with our newly discovered reality. Instead, she essentially suggested Trump has misled her.
“We give the very best information that we have at the time,” she said, later repeating a version of that phrase several times.
We’ve seen claims of ignorance from behind the White House press briefing room’s podium before. That was the case in the aftermath of the botched explanations for James B. Comey’s firing. Sanders also offered a version of this when her explanations of the Rob Porter fiasco fell apart.
“We’re giving you the best information that we’re going to have,” Sanders said then, echoing what she said Thursday. “Obviously the press team’s not going to be as read-in, maybe, as some other elements, at a given moment, on a variety of topics. But we relay the best and most accurate information that we have, and we get those from those individuals.”
The difference in this case, though, is that it’s not “those individuals” who provided the information; it’s Trump. This wasn’t Sanders blaming anonymous or indecipherable White House aides for the botched response; she clearly said in March that she was relying upon a conversation she had had with Trump.