White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders accused Democrats of blatant hypocrisy for criticizing President Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey.
On Wednesday afternoon, Sanders said Trump could not have anticipated the backlash because the very people “declaring war” today had been begging for Comey to be fired months ago.
“If Hillary Clinton had won the election — which thank God she didn’t — but if she had and she had been in the same position, she would’ve fired Comey immediately. And the very Democrats that are criticizing the president today would be dancing in the streets celebrating, so it’s just the purest form of hypocrisy,” she said during the daily press briefing.
Sanders, the deputy press secretary who conducted her first on-camera press briefing last week, was noticeably more composed than White House press secretary Sean Spicer usually is, as she addressed a barrage of pointed questions about Trump’s controversial decision. She expressed surprise that firing Comey only seemed to exacerbate the political divide in Washington, given that members of both parties had repeatedly called for it in the past.
“Frankly, I don’t think it matters what this president says. You’re going to have Democrats come out and fight him every single step of the way,” she said. “I think that’s one of the things that’s wrong with Washington, and I think that’s one of the reasons that we’ve got to get back to focusing on those issues and frankly draining the swamp a little bit further.”
On Oct. 28, shortly before the presidential election, Comey announced that the FBI was going to reopen its investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state. Just two days before Election Day, the FBI announced that the further review did not change the original conclusion that Clinton should not face prosecution.
At the time, many Democrats blamed Comey’s letter to Congress with stirring unnecessary distrust of Clinton and tilting the election in Trump’s favor. Clinton herself expressed this view as recently as May 2.
On May 3, Comey said he stood by his decision to reexamine Clinton’s email but admitted the thought that he may have cost her the election made him feel sick.
“It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election,” Comey told lawmakers.
On Tuesday night, CNN political analyst David Gregory said that Clinton probably would have liked to fire Comey if she had won the election and that there had been discussion around the topic when she thought she would win. Still, he said, she most likely wouldn’t have because it would look like a blatantly political hit.
“She actually got very sage advice that you couldn’t do that because of how nakedly political that would look,” Gregory said. “Apparently, there’s nobody in the White House who gave that advice to this president.”
According to the White House, Sanders will be filling in for Spicer for the remainder of the week because he will be at the Pentagon on Navy Reserve duty.
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