The former White House press secretary said in December that she was "very seriously" considering running for Arkansas' top office, which her dad previously held

By Sean Neumann
September 08, 2020 02:28 PM
Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Good Morning America on Tuesday

Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders demurred on her political future when asked Tuesday during an interview on ABC's Good Morning America about whether she'll run for governor of Arkansas.

Her reply? A smile and a "we'll see."

After laughing off the question from host George Stephanopoulos, Sanders turned her focus to supporting her former boss President Donald Trump's re-election campaign, in which he is trailing rival Joe Biden.

"Right now my focus is on the 2020 election, helping the president get re-elected," Sanders, 38, said on GMA. "I'd love to see us pick up some more seats in the Senate and take back the House, and I'll make a decision on that after we get through 2020."

Sanders is an Arkansas native and her father, Mike Huckabee, served as the state's governor from 1996 to 2007 before launching an ill-fated presidential bid.

After working as a senior adviser to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, Sanders became deputy White House press secretary in January 2017. She then took over as press secretary when Sean Spicer, Trump's first press secretary, abruptly left in the summer of 2017.

Sanders remained in that role until she left at the end of June 2019. Her 22-month tenure in the administration saw her become a lightning rod for Trump critics — once admitting to lying to reporters about the FBI's support of James Comey, which she later said was a "slip of the tongue."

She made headlines for being asked to leave a Virginia restaurant in 2018 and other headlines as the target of a comedian at the White House Correspondents' Dinner that same year.

Trump gave Sanders a glowing review when she left his administration, saying she was "very popular." (The Daily Show responded: “So beautiful for Trump to honor Sarah Huckabee Sanders with one final lie.”)

From left: former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her father, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee

Speculation about Sanders seeking Arkansas' top office has been bubbling since she left her job as press secretary and was bolstered in December when she said she was “very seriously” considering running in the state's next gubernatorial election.

“I love Arkansas, I love my home state, I am so happy to be back home and we’ll see what happens,” Sanders said then, according to CNN. “But certainly looking at that.”

Sanders was being interviewed this week on Good Morning America about her new book, Speaking For Myself, which came out Tuesday — the same day another former Trump confidant, his longtime attorney Michael Cohen, released a much more critical tell-all about working with the president.

Unlike Cohen's portrayal of Trump as "a cheat, a liar, a fraud, a bully, a racist, a predator [and] a con man," Sanders offers a more positive view of Trump's often contentious first term, saying that she "shows you a different side of the president."

Sarah Huckabee Sanders and President Donald Trump in 2019
Joe Raedle/Getty

Sanders also defended the president against a report last week in The Atlantic that cited anonymous firsthand sources who say Trump called U.S. soldiers killed in action "losers" and "suckers" during a 2018 trip to France, in which he canceled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris.

The president and various White House aides vigorously denied this, though other outlets like the Associated Press and Fox News corroborated parts of The Atlantic's article with their own sources. (Some of Fox News' sources separately disputed part of The Atlantic's account, however.)

Both the Atlantic report and Cohen's tell-all book come at the end of a summer in which Trump has faced unflattering accounts of his presidency from some of his former top aides, including ex-National Security Advisor John Bolton and former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis — in addition to a sharp-tongued memoir by his niece, Mary Trump.

Sanders told Stephanopoulos that her portrayal of the president was "honest."

"It's really simple," Sanders said. "I think mine is actually the honest account. You're looking at people who have left as disgruntled employees, people who have tried to push their own agenda."