Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders will deliver the GOP’s response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night ― but viewers might want to do some fact-checking before taking anything she says at face value.
During Sanders’ two-year tenure as the press secretary for Donald Trump’s White House, stint as a Fox News commentator and new job as Arkansas’ Republican governor, Sanders has earned a reputation among her critics for lying with ease ― something she’s admitted under oath to doing ― and fiercely defending Trump’s most offensive behavior.
In no particular order, here are some of Sanders’ most egregious lies and outrageous remarks you should reacquaint yourself with before her Tuesday night address:
She said Trump’s policy of separating children from their parents at the border and locking them in detention facilities was “very biblical.”
When Trump retweeted three unverified, Islamophobic videos, Sanders insisted it didn’t matter if the videos were “real” and told reporters that if they’re focusing on “the nature of the video, you’re focusing on the wrong thing.”
Weeks after a gunman slaughtered 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, she declared in a speech that “we will make sure that when a kid is in the womb, they’re as safe as they are in a classroom.” At that point in 2022, there had already been 27 school shootings that year.
She refused to say the press was not the “enemy of the people.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders talks to journalists outside the West Wing of the White House in April 2019.
She admitted to lying during a press conference about former FBI director James Comey when she claimed “countless” FBI agents told her they were happy Trump fired him. She confessed under oath during special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation that this was not true, but she downplayed it as a mere “slip of the tongue.”
She twice used her government Twitter account to slam businesses she took personal issue with: a small restaurant in Virginia that refused to serve her and The New York Times for publishing an anonymous op-ed critical of the Trump administration. Former White House ethics chiefs said these incidents were illegal ethics code violation.
She mocked Biden for stuttering ― a speech impediment he’s dealt with throughout his life ― after a Democratic presidential debate in 2019.
She posted an Infowars-produced video of CNN’s Jim Acosta that appeared doctored to make him seem aggressive toward a White House intern, and used it to defend the Trump administration taking away Acosta’s White House press credentials.
She claimed God “wanted Donald Trump to become president.”
She falsely claimed that Trump’s border wall had stopped nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2018. In reality, the wall ― for which Trump was demanding $5.7 billion in federal funds to build ― had only stopped six people on the No Fly List.
Sanders speaks during a press briefing at the White House in October 2018.
She claimed that the Mueller report findings were “a total and complete exoneration” of Trump even though the report summary explicitly said it “does not exonerate him.”
When a journalist used the term “lopping heads off” to refer to the need for a staff shakeup on the White House communications team, she took it very, very literally. “They’ve said I should be choked, they said I should deserve a lifetime of harassment, but certainly never had somebody say that I should be decapitated,” Sanders said in 2019.
She defended Trump’s unprecedented refusal to share his tax returns by claiming members of Congress are not “smart enough to look through the thousands of pages that I would assume President Trump’s taxes will be.”
While running for governor of Arkansas, she vowed not to support any rape or incest exceptions in legislation banning abortion ― an extreme position out of step with the vast majority of Americans, including more than three-quarters of Republicans, studies have found.
As Arkansas governor, she banned the term “Latinx” from any official state documents, saying the word ― which came into use in recent years as an inclusive, gender-neutral term to describe someone of Hispanic or Latino origin ― constitutes “ethnically insensitive and pejorative language.”