Sunday, December 3, 2017

Let's Play "Two Truths and a Lie" with Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Hey, how many folks out there are sick and tired of paying the salary of Sarah Huckabee Sanders just so she can turn around and relentlessly lie to our faces? Steve suggests that we play a popular party game to find out just how deceitful the White House Press Secretary really is.

There’s a great party game called “Two Truths and a Lie,” in which participants tell two facts about themselves and one complete falsehood. The other players try to guess which of the three statements is the lie. The winning strategy is one of diversion – shrewd players reveal two facts that seem wholly unfathomable, and then concoct one very plausible but completely false statement. One encounters some astonishing truths (“I was once the only eyewitness to a murder”) and ingenious lies that seem just unusual enough to be believable (“I only spoke German until the age of three”). It is an entertaining and engaging party game, particularly as an ice-breaker among people who are newly acquainted.

What better game to symbolize the state of our national dialog in the age of Trump?  Play the game! Hone your skills! The best liar wins! And if you are the best liar of all, well, you can become President of the United States!

Here’s some free advice: don’t ever get yourself into a game of “Two Truths and a Lie” with White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. That’s not because she is so talented at being deceptive. She is actually terrible at being deceptive, as she does not seem to feel that there is any particular virtue in lying well. It is because she would have a problem with the rules, which require contestants to come up with two statements that are actually true in their entirety.

Ever dour, pompous, and oozing disdain for the lame stream media seated before her in the White House Press Room, Ms. Sanders handles the incoming razor sharp shrapnel from the press corps with the indifferent aplomb of a Stanley Cup goalie. Appearing world-weary and heavily wearing the patience of a saint on her sleeve, she listens to reporters impassively, clearly assessing whether any given question can be dismissed, evaded, muddled, protested, or – in an ideal world – quickly turned as evidence of the obvious biases and false narratives of the elite liberal press. In these moments, she instantly raises herself fully in her mantle of victimhood, raging at the “boldness” of those who would accuse her or the Obfuscator-in-Chief of factual inaccuracy. 

Most often, however, she fields the serious questions of seasoned journalists by hurtling through an opaque, bewildering one sentence answer, which ends with her instantly calling on the next reporter for a new question, leaving the first reporter stammering "wha? huh? but you didn't..."

Sarah Huckabee Sanders is so relentless and brazen in her delivery of alternative facts that she makes one pine for the goofy meltdowns of Sean Spicer, whose discomfort in lying in the service of the President was so apparent that one actually expected his nose to spontaneously elongate in mid-deceit. In contrast, Ms. Sanders is preternaturally capable of appearing angry and frustrated when her non-answers and outright falsehoods are judged wanting by the press corp.

Last month there was a legendary exchange in which Sanders was challenged by a reporter to explain Donald Trump’s inaccurate statement that the United States was “the highest-taxed nation in the world.”

Sanders: “We are the highest taxed corporate tax in the developed economy. That’s a fact.”
Reporter Trey Yingst: “But that’s not what the president said.”
Sanders: “That’s what he’s talking about. We are the highest taxed corporate nation.”
Reporter: “But that’s not what he said. He said we’re the highest taxed nation in the world.”
Sanders: “The highest taxed corporate nation. Seems pretty consistent to me. Sorry, we’re just going to have to agree to disagree.”

Agree to disagree? Try that the next time a cop nails you with his radar gun for going 45 mph in a school zone. “Officer, I am quite sure I was going 25. Sorry, we’re just going to have to agree to disagree.”

All of which brings us to Ms. Sanders’ defense of Donald Trump as he dealt with the allegations of sexual impropriety by Roy Moore and Al Franken. Trump has been playing a dangerous game of selective condemnation, tweeting ridiculing comments about Franken while accepting Moore’s assertions of innocence. Bubbling forth from this acrid brine was the stench of his own sexual harassment scandals, exhumed in the renewed focus on the Access Hollywood tape and the sixteen women who have accused him of sexually predatory behavior.

How do you navigate this mine field of potentially devastating Presidential missteps if you are the White House Press Secretary?

To find out, we’re going to play “Two Truths and a Lie” with Sarah Huckabee Sanders. In our game, Sarah will attempt to defend Donald Trump by telling two truths and one lie about the situation.

And you, as the tax paying citizen who pays her salary, will be forced to guess which two of the three claims are true, and which one is the lie… just like the reporters in the White House briefing room do every day.

Ready? Here goes….

#1.  After Donald Trump ridiculed Senator Al Franken for sexual misconduct, Ms. Sanders was asked to draw the distinction between Franken’s actions and the sixteen women who have made similar allegations against the President. “I think in one case specifically, Senator Franken has admitted wrongdoing, and the President hasn’t,” Sanders noted. “I think that’s a very clear distinction.”

#2.  In the wake of Trump's endorsement of Alabama Senate candidate and accused child-molester Roy Moore, Sanders was asked about recent reports that Donald Trump now believes that the famous Access Hollywood tape was a fake, and the ongoing issue of the allegations of sexual harassment against Trump.  “The President addressed this,” Ms. Sanders said. “This was litigated and certainly answered during the election by the overwhelming support for the President and the fact that he is sitting here in the Oval Office today.”

#3.  Shortly after her appointment to the role of White House Press Secretary, Ms. Sanders was asked about her commitment in her role as White House Press Secretary to always tell the truth. "I don't think it's appropriate to lie from the podium or any other place," she replied.

O.K., contestants! Which one is the lie and which two are the truth?

Let’s start with Ms. Sander’s first statement about the “distinction” between Trump and Franken. Well, there’s simply no arguing that she is telling the truth when she says that there is a huge distinction between the person who admits to and apologizes for sexual harassment, and the person who denies it in the face of startling similar accusations from sixteen different women. Sure, it’s infuriating that she is condemning Senator Franken for accepting responsibility for his action and giving her boss a pass because he has branding sixteen women as liars. But you have to concede that this one is a “truth,” right?

Uh, no.

Trump actually did admit to sexually predatory behavior in the Access Hollywood tape. Here is the relevant passage:

Trump: “Yeah, that’s her. With the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”
Bush: “Whatever you want.”
Trump: “Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”

Note the phrasing in the first quoted paragraph: “I just start kissing them.” This is not hypothetical musing. It is reporting on actions previously taken. “I just start kissing them.”

Not only did Trump admit in the video to sexually predatory behavior, he further admitted that the video was real, issuing a formal apology in the midst of the campaign.

So, Sarah, we are forced to conclude that your very first statement is your “lie.” That means the other two must be true, right?

Let’s examine the second statement. Surely there is truth to it: whatever you want to say about the despicable misogynistic language on the Access Hollywood video, Americans knew about it when they elected Donald Trump President.  Well, you may not like it, but Sarah Huckabee Sanders certainly is telling you the truth on this one.

Not so fast.

The accusations that Donald Trump had committed sexually predatory behavior made by sixteen women were never “litigated” during the campaign. There were no trials, no sworn testimony, no juries, and no proclamations of innocence. The validity of the Access Hollywood tape was never contested by Donald Trump during the campaign. Indeed, at the time, he issued a formal apology for its content.

Nothing was “litigated.”

Or did Sarah Huckabee Sanders intend to imply that the people of the United States officially pardoned Donald Trump for sexual harassment when they elected him President? Was she saying that now that he is President, none of those accusations matter?

So, contestants, clearly there has been some misunderstanding or confusion, because in this game of “Two Truths and a Lie,” Sarah as already told two lies, and we only have one statement left.

Geez, where does that leave us? Surely, her third statement must be true: "I don't think it's appropriate to lie from the podium or any other place."

On Thursday, Sarah Huckabee Sanders was aggressively questioned about President Trump’s bizarre decision to re-tweet videos from a right-wing extremist group based in the United Kingdom.  The videos purported to show violent crimes committed by Muslims, but the videos had never been substantiated and, in one case, has already proven to be phony. Ms. Sanders took to the view that trafficking in phony videos was perfectly fair because Donald Trump was simply trying to illustrate a broader threat that was indeed real. Here is the actual quote from Sarah Huckabee Sanders:

“Whether it's a real video, the threat is real. His goal is to promote strong border security and strong national security.”

It’s time to pause and take a deep breath. In this miraculous sentence, Ms. Sanders has actually said out loud that lies in the service of an alleged "greater purpose" are legitimate. The ends justify the means.  There are, one is left to conclude, situations in which Sarah Huckabee Sanders believes that it is “appropriate to lie from the podium.”

Yep. The third one is a lie, too.

But you were warned.

We told you right up front never to play “Two Truths and a Lie” with Sarah Huckabee Sanders. We noted that it is not because she is so talented at being deceptive, and the clumsiness, carelessness, and arrogance of the examples we provide here are proof. She is actually terrible at being deceptive, as she sees no reason to expel the extra effort it might take to lie well.

We told you not to play this game with her because she would have a problem with the rules, which require contestants to come up with two statements that are actually true in their entirety. This is apparently far outside her skill set.

You, the American taxpayer, are paying this woman to lie brazenly, effortlessly, and relentlessly to your face. There is none of Sean Spicer’s fitful, manic, Catholic guilt about with lying. And, note well, there is none of Anthony Scaramucci’s smarmy self-destructive stupidity. This woman misleads with cool, conscious calculation.

No, in Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Donald Trump has found the perfect voice to convey his fact-free fantasy presidency. He has found the perfect voice that will deceive as frequently, as effortlessly, as purposefully, as casually, and as ruthlessly as he does.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders has no voice of her own. She has shamelessly traded her voice for Donald Trump’s in a witch’s bargain for power and stature in a morally bankrupt White House.

Two truths and a lie?

The only truth you need to know to deal with Sarah Huckabee Sanders is to understand that she would never tell you two truths.

“Come on you poor unfortunate soul
Go ahead
Make your choice
I'm a very busy woman and I haven't got all day
It won't cost much
Just your voice!”

--“Poor Unfortunate Souls”
Sung by Ursula in “The Little Mermaid.”

The author gives credit for the inspiration for this post to Davy Gardner, writer of a hysterical podcast entitled “Two Truths and a Lie” that was aired recently on “The Truth Podcast.” Listen to it here at

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