Previously a relative unknown outside of the U.S. political arena, Sarah Huckabee Sanders has very recently become a household name. Indeed, since taking over from Sean Spicer as the White House press secretary in July 2017, the 35-year-old has barely stopped making headlines. Here’s a look at 20 things you may not know about Donald Trump’s most outspoken apologist.
20. She took an early interest in politics
With a former governor of Arkansas for a father, it was perhaps inevitable that Sanders would become immersed in the world of U.S. politics. But even so, her interest in the field started ridiculously early. Mike Huckabee once told Yahoo! that his daughter began “listening to Dick Morris do poll results and analyzing cross-tabs” when she was at elementary school.
19. She threw shade at Hillary Clinton
Sanders certainly isn’t afraid to speak her mind. When asked about Hillary Clinton and her book, What Happened, during a 2017 press briefing, she replied that it was sad that, “The last chapter of her public life is now going to be defined by propping up book sales with false and reckless attacks.” Clinton later claimed that she didn’t take much notice of Sanders’ views.
18. She took a potshot at Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Pelosi became the latest figure to be on the receiving end of Sanders’ sharp tongue in 2018. Unimpressed by the House minority leader’s straight face during Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, Sanders told CNN that Pelosi “should smile a lot more often.” She then added, “She seems to kind of embody the bitterness that belongs in the Democrat party right now.”
17. She’s a cactus bread addict
A piece of cinnamon-topped dough with drizzled icing, a.k.a. cactus bread, became Sanders’ food of choice while working on her father’s presidential campaign in 2008. It was also named by colleague Jennifer Hatten as her favorite thing about working with Sanders in an interview with Newsweek. The pair used to regularly order the dessert pizza from their local Pizza Ranch.
16. She caused a Twitter storm with a pecan pie
In 2017 Sanders tweeted what looked like a stock photo of a pecan pie while claiming that she’d baked it for her family for Thanksgiving. Journalist April D. Ryan alleged that this was fake news and challenged her to show an image of Sanders eating it. The Republican then presented Ryan with a pecan pie at the White House press potluck just a week later.
15. She’s an enemy of the Girl Scouts of America
Sanders made the Girl Scouts of America take to social media in force in early 2017 thanks to an ill-advised quip on ABC’s This Week. Discussing why Trump wouldn’t be gracing the White House Correspondents Dinner, she said, “If a Girl Scout egged your house, would you buy cookies from her? I think that this is a pretty similar scenario.”
14. She’s not a fan of anti-Trump celebs
Mark Ruffalo, Amy Schumer and John Leguizamo shouldn’t expect a Christmas card from Sanders any time soon. The press secretary was asked by Fox & Friends about the various famous faces who appeared at an anti-Trump event before the State of the Union address. She replied, “They look small and it’s impacting them in a much more negative way than it is impacting the president.”
13. Cher described her as a “sister wife”
And she probably isn’t a fan of Cher after the legendary diva criticized her fashion sense on Twitter. “Would someone please tell Sarah Huckabee Sanders to stop dressing like a sister wife,” the music icon tweeted in early 2018. Cher had previously claimed that Donald Trump wore a wig on the same social media platform back in 2012.
12. But she does like at least one Hollywood star
But there does appear to be at least one celebrity who has the Sanders seal of approval. In 2011, the Republican visited Israel with her father and Jon Voight. Two years previously, the Hollywood actor had delivered a lengthy rant on Mike Huckabee’s Fox News show in which he reminded viewers he had claimed Barack Obama would start a civil war.
11. Her father hated SNL’s impression of her
As you’d expect, late-night comedy institution Saturday Night Live also took aim at Sanders after her appointment as White House press secretary. And as you’d also expect, Sanders’ father wasn’t amused. Mike Huckabee told Fox Business Network’s Varney & Company that Aidy Bryant’s impersonation of his daughter was “silly, sexist [and] misogynist.”
10. Dad also has beef with Chelsea Handler
Mike Huckabee also leaped to his daughter’s defense after criticism about her appearance from Chelsea Handler. The outspoken talk show host described Sanders as a harlot and a trollop in an episode of her Netflix series. But Huckabee fought back during an appearance on Fox & Friends Weekend, claiming that Handler was just jealous, and that he actually felt sorry for her.
9. She was called a “chunky soccer mom” by a Pulitzer Prize winner
Sanders’ image also came under fire from a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner. In November 2017 Los Angeles Times columnist David Horsey compared the 35-year-old to a “slightly chunky soccer mom who organizes snacks for the kids’ games.” After a backlash from readers who accused Horsey of sexism, the writer apologized for his remarks.
8. She was once mistaken for a Hollywood star
Two months earlier Sanders had been mistaken for a glamorous Hollywood star. Democratic Coalition chairman Jon Cooper posted an image of actress Busy Philipps on Twitter which was captioned “Sarah Huckabee Sanders even looked habitually pissed when she was a teenager!” The furious actress soon made Cooper aware that his Google search had thrown up the wrong person.
7. She once praised Barack Obama
One of Sanders’ most shocking comments came when she publicly gave the thumbs-up to Barack Obama in 2010. The 35-year-old favorably referenced the then-president when discussing the issue of fathers getting more involved in raising their kids during an interview with Time magazine. “I’m a Republican, but I respect President Obama for setting the right example and addressing this problem.”
6. She met her husband while campaigning
Sanders obviously doesn’t believe in the old adage that you should never mix business with pleasure. The Republican began dating Bryan Sanders shortly after recruiting him for her father Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign in 2008. Two years later the pair married in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and they now have three children.
5. Her three-year-old once hijacked her Twitter account
One of those three children accidentally got Sanders in trouble when he began playing with her phone. The three-year-old boy posted an incomprehensible array of letters, numbers and emojis on his mother’s Twitter account after getting his hands on the device unattended. After discovering the tweet Sanders offered her followers some words of advice, “#neverleaveyourphoneunlocked.”
4. She was upstaged by Ivanka Trump at the Winter Olympics
Sanders was asked to represent the U.S. administration when she flew to Pyeongchang for the 2018 Winter Olympics. But she was left overshadowed by traveling companion Ivanka Trump. During their dinner with the South Korean president, the first daughter was gifted a custom-made pair of embroidered red slippers. Sanders, however, received just a standard-issue leather pair.
3. She reportedly called for an ESPN reporter to be fired
Sanders was forced to clarify her comments on an ESPN reporter in 2018 after an ethics complaint was filed against her. Talking about broadcaster Jenele Hill’s description of Donald Trump as a white supremacist, the Republican initially said that such remarks should be “a fireable offense.” But she later claimed that she hadn’t specifically been instructing the network to sever their ties with Hill.
2. She once used a barroom analogy to describe tax reform
Sanders once opened a White House briefing by comparing the latest tax reform to splitting a bar tab. The Republican used a riddle that had been floating online for years, which referenced a group of ten journalists settling a $100 drinks bill after a night out. However, some experts believe that she widely missed the mark with her beer analogy.
1. She was accused of mistaking JFK and Kennedy for two different presidents
Sanders also appeared to embarrass herself during another press briefing in which she discussed previous presidents’ flaws. While reeling off a list of former leaders of the free world, the Republican mentioned both JFK and Kennedy. Inevitably, social media had a field day on learning that Sanders seemed to believe that JFK and Kennedy were entirely different people.