Were we given to spending our hard-earned sympathy on members of the current White House administration—we’re not, but let’s pretend—a healthy handful would have to go to press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Sanders, after all, has a truly bizarre job: Attempting to build a coherent message, complete with human justifications and emotions, for the rampant bullshit that spews daily from the mouth of her boss, Donald Trump. It’s a job that only gets harder when Trump gets questioned about anything, ever, causing him to automatically double down on the volume and width of spray from the fecal fountain nestled betwixt his lips.
Case in point: The controversy that’s cropped up around Trump’s recent claims about his phone calls to Gold Star families, the relatives and loved ones of American soldiers who died during active service. Besides falsely claiming that other presidents, like Barack Obama, didn’t extend the same courtesy to military families, Trump is currently embroiled in an argument with Florida representative Frederica Wilson about whether he served the wife of a soldier killed earlier this month some weakass, shrugging sympathy by saying, “He knew what he was signing up for, but I guess it hurts anyway.”
Trump has denied that he made the insensitive comment, despite the fact that Wilson’s statement was backed up by the soldier’s mother. When he challenged Wilson to repeat her claim, she happily did, on Twitter; Trump responded by saying he had “proof” that it hadn’t happened. Which brings us back to Sanders, who was forced today during a press briefing to acknowledge that said “proof” wasn’t anything definitive, like a recording of the call. Rather, it was just the presence of some of his employees, including Chief Of Staff John Kelly, who were presumably happy to back up their boss’ claims.
Sanders was also forced to gingerly walk back Trump’s comments that he called “every” family of a killed soldier, inserting a lot of language about “proper channels” in order to buffer her boss from families pissed off they never heard from him. Luckily for her, she wasn’t asked about the father of Army Sgt. Dillon Baldridge, who, according to The Washington Post, was promised a personal $25,000 donation from Trump that never materialized. “He said, ‘I’m going to write you a check out of my personal account for $25,000,’ and I was just floored,” Chris Baldridge told the Post. “I could not believe he was saying that, and I wish I had it recorded because the man did say this. He said, ‘No other president has ever done something like this,’ but he said, ‘I’m going to do it.’” (And hey, if this is a hoax, it’s at least one written by someone who knows exactly how Trump thinks.)