Sarah Elizabeth Huckabee Sanders (born August 13, 1982) is an American political aide, currently serving as White House Press Secretary. She is the daughter of former governor of Arkansas and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and former Arkansas first lady Janet Huckabee.
Sanders was born in Hope, Arkansas, the youngest child and only daughter of Mike Huckabee, the former Governor of Arkansas, and Janet Huckabee. She has two brothers, John Mark and David Huckabee, an Arkansas mortgage broker. She attended Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. She matriculated at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, where she was elected student body president and was active in Republican organizations and other student groups, graduating in 2004.
Sanders' introduction to politics began as a child, when her father first ran for Governor of Arkansas in 1992. Describing the unsuccessful campaign to The Hill, she said "He didn't really have much of a staff, so our family has been very engaged and very supportive of my dad. I was stuffing envelopes, I was knocking on doors, I was putting up yard signs." Her father described her childhood, saying, "I always say that when most kids are seven or eight years old out jumping rope, she was sitting at the kitchen table listening to political commentators analyze poll results." Huckabee also added that, being his youngest child, Sanders was spoiled at times, but her parents worked to instill a good work ethic in all their children.
Sanders got her start in politics serving as a field coordinator for her father's 2002 re-election campaign for Governor of Arkansas. She served as a regional liaison for congressional affairs at the U.S. Department of Education under President George W. Bush. She also worked as field coordinator for President Bush’s re-election campaign in Ohio in 2004.
Sanders is a founding partner of Second Street Strategies in Little Rock, Arkansas, a general consulting services provider. She worked on national political campaigns and on campaigns for federal office in Arkansas. Sanders also served as Vice President of Tsamoutales Strategies. She served as national political director for her father, Mike Huckabee's, 2008 presidential campaign. She also served as a senior advisor to Tim Pawlenty in his 2012 presidential run. She was involved in the campaigns of both U.S. Senators from Arkansas, managing John Boozman's 2010 campaign and serving as an advisor to Tom Cotton's 2014 election. After her father's 2008 campaign, she worked as executive director of Huck PAC, a political action committee. She also served as national campaign manager for the ONE Campaign, an international organization aimed at ending global poverty and preventable diseases.
In 2016, after managing her father's presidential campaign, she signed on as a senior advisor for Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, handling the Trump campaign's communications for coalitions.
After Trump's victory, Sanders was named to the position of Deputy White House Press Secretary in his new administration. On May 5, 2017, she held her first White House press briefing, standing in for Press Secretary Sean Spicer who was serving on Naval Reserve duty. She continued to cover for Spicer until his return to the podium on May 12. She stood in for Spicer during the dismissal of James Comey and the controversy following it. Her defense of the Trump Administration's actions led to some speculation that President Trump was considering promoting her to replace Spicer. This was refuted at the time by her father, Mike Huckabee. However, on May 26 The Wall Street Journal again suggested that Sanders was being considered as a possible replacement for Spicer, in the context of wider staff changes and the investigation into alleged communications with Russia. She continued to fill in for Spicer occasionally.
On June 27, during a press briefing, Sanders criticised the media, accusing them of spreading fake news against Trump. Sanders cited a video created by James O'Keefe. Although she was unsure of the video's accuracy, she said "I would encourage everyone in this room and, frankly, everybody across the country to take a look at it." The video features CNN's health and medical producer, John Bonifield, saying that CNN's coverage of the Trump campaign's alleged links to Russia are "mostly bullshit" and driven by ratings.
On July 21, 2017, following Spicer's announcement that he was going to resign, newly appointed White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci announced that Sanders would take the role of White House Press Secretary. Sanders is the third woman to hold the role of White House Press Secretary after Dee Dee Myers in 1993 and Dana Perino in 2007.
She met her husband, Bryan Chatfield Sanders, who is a Republican political consultant, during her father's 2008 presidential campaign. She was the campaign's field director, and Bryan Sanders was hired as a media consultant. Huckabee and Sanders married on May 25, 2010, at Nazareth Lutheran Church in Cruz Bay on the island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. In February 2016, the couple formed as partners the political consulting firm, Second Street Strategies. They have three children.
Arkansas-raised, Sanders is married to a Republican consultant and moved her young family to Washington to be part of the administration.
|White House Press Secretary
Taking office 2017
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