Sarah Huckabee Sanders tried defending her boss Wednesday the only way she knows how — by spinning the already befuddling things he's said, and lied about, to create an even more confusing mess.
Following the first terror attack in Manhattan since 9/11, President Donald Trump has embarked on a campaign to politicize the tragic death of eight people to push for stricter immigration policy. Trump singled out the Diversity Visa lottery program, which Sayfullo Saipov, Tuesday's terror suspect, used to become a legal resident in the U.S in 2010.
The terrorist came into our country through what is called the "Diversity Visa Lottery Program," a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2017
It was Sanders' job during Wednesday's press briefing to make sense of Trump's political response to the tragedy on the last day of October after refusing to "politicize a tragedy" after a gunman opened fire on a Las Vegas concert on the first day of the month. All the White House press secretary could do, however, was mislead the press about what Trump had said.
Sanders insists Trump wasn't politicizing the tragedy by tweet-attacking Sen. Schumer and sparking political debate on immigration.
— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) November 1, 2017
Trump called the justice system 'a laughingstock' on camera.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it never happened. pic.twitter.com/7YcGcx015E
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) November 1, 2017
The White House press secretary then tried to justify Trump's stance on the Diversity Visa lottery by claiming there was "no vetting system" over the program.
Sanders just said there’s “no vetting system” for the diversity visa lottery, which isn’t true. — Philip Bump (@pbump) November 1, 2017
I know this is redundant: But Sarah Sanders is lying right now when she says Green Card lottery has no vetting. — Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) November 1, 2017
Rationalizing Trump's tweets and off-the-cuff remarks is likely the hardest job in Washington, but Sanders has taken to completely misrepresenting her boss to protect him from negative press.
Sanders cleans up Trump's tweets: "The president has not blamed Sen. Schumer & doesn’t feel that the senator is responsible for the attack." — Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) November 1, 2017
As even Republican Sen. Jeff Flake pointed out, Schumer was actually part of a Gang of Eight that attempted to do away with the visa application in question.
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) November 1, 2017
Sanders also got the basics about the program Trump has proposed to eliminate wrong.
“The fact that we have a lottery system that randomly decides who gets the greatest opportunity in the world ... And to give that away randomly, to have no vetting system, to have no way to determine who comes, why they’re here, and if they want to contribute to society is a problem," she said to defend Trump's call to end the Diversity Visa lottery.
But as reporters in the room pointed, an immigrant selected through the lottery program is vetted by the State Department. When Sanders wasn't lying Wednesday about Trump's erroneous beliefs on immigration, she was refusing to condemn slavery.
WH's Sanders: "i'm not going to re-litigate Civil War. disgusting and absurd to suggest anyone inside this building would support slavery" — John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) November 1, 2017
And continued the White House tradition of whining about the press: