Sarah Sanders and Sunny Hostin Debate Unrest, Trump and Jacob Blake on The View
Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders waded into the hotly-contested waters of police brutality and race during an appearance on The View this week, as co-host Sunny Hostin told her — "this is happening under your president's watch."
The exchange took place on Tuesday's episode, in which Sanders, who just released a new White House memoir, spoke about President Donald Trump, a recent Atlantic report detailing his alleged comments about the military and her own political ambitions.
About the demonstrations spurred by police misconduct in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, Sanders contended they were occurring mostly in Democratic-led cities and don't lead to "real reform."
When asked by co-host Sara Haines whether she felt that systemic racism is an issue in police enforcement, Sanders responded: "I certainly think that there have been some horrific moments and certainly some very bad things that should cause outrage in our country, but I don't think that that means we should demonize every single member of our law enforcement."
Hostin, 51, cited recent protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, spurred by the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man shot in the back seven times in front of his children.
After 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse allegedly shot and killed two men protesting Blake's shooting, Trump seemingly defended him, calling it an "interesting situation."
(Rittenhouse, who had traveled to Kenosha from a town in a neighboring part of Illinois, is charged with homicide; his lawyer claims it was self-defense.)
Sanders was pressed by Hostin on Tuesday's show on why Trump — a self-described president of law and order — could justify "what many would call vigilante justice, in the name of protecting property."
Sanders echoed Trump's own defense: "The president's been very clear: We cannot continue to have rioting and looting taking place in our cities. If we want to see real change and real reform let's stop burning down the businesses and the communities that these problems are happening in. Let's sit down at the table and talk about real solutions."
Asked repeatedly why the president had "refused to disavow" Rittenhouse but had not reached out to Blake, Sanders said, "You'll have to ask the president. But what I can tell you that he has done is lead on having safe communities. No child in America — whether they are Black, white, brown or any other color — should be afraid to walk down the streets in this country, and that is something the president has been strong on and Vice President Biden has been incredibly weak on."
When reminded that Joe Biden, Trump's election rival, did speak to Jacob Blake, Sanders argued the former vice president had done "nothing to empower the black community."
"I don't understand how making that phone call is changing the dynamic of having safer communities," Sanders said. "I think it's a nice thing that he did, I think that it would be great if the president did it as well ... "
When Hostin said that the unrest was happening "under [Trump's] watch," Sanders argued that the protests, many of which have been peaceful, though some have spasmed into violence and property destruction, are taking place largely in "Democrat-led cities."
The president has "empowered the African-American community" and has "done more than his predecessors" for Black Americans, she said — the same boastful claim Trump has made before.