Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee hit back at David Axelrod—CNN analyst and one-time adviser to former President Barack Obama—for his scathing critique of Huckabee’s daughter, Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
The former governor appeared on Fox News’s “The Story with Martha MacCallum” on Friday, June 14, where he was asked for his thoughts on Axelrod’s attack on the former White House Press Secretary.
Axelrod spoke to CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Thursday, where he compared Sanders’s function as President Donald Trump’s press secretary to being a “fire marshal for a pyromaniac.”
The CNN contributor further suggested Sanders was a liar, and claimed she chose loyalty to the president over the truth.
Huckabee delivered a firm but polite rebuke to these comments, saying, “I’m a little surprised that this came out of Axelrod. He’s a better person than that. He knows better. And I’m really shocked and surprised that he would go there to that degree.”
Huckabee further said when people criticize his daughter, it shows their visceral opposition to Trump, rather than objective reflection on her performance or character.
“Well, the truth is: people that don’t like Donald Trump don’t like my daughter.
“And it’s not that they don’t like her—because most of them don’t even know her—they just don’t like President Trump. And that’s unfortunate because a lot of us do like him and we’re grateful for what he’s doing.”
Huckabee said he was taken aback by Axelrod’s attitude. He said commentators had projected their negative emotions onto the president’s entourage.
The former governor said in his opinion, Axelrod’s attitude—and those like him—is “unfortunate.”
“I’m really shocked and surprised that he would go there to that degree. But again he’s a CNN contributor. What is he going to do? They pay people to hate President Trump. That’s what they pay them to do, so I guess he earned his paycheck on that particular segment.”
Sanders Gives Emotional Farewell Speech
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders gave an emotional farewell speech on June 13 after President Donald Trump announced she would be departing his administration.
Speaking in the East Room on Thursday evening about an initiative to help former inmates find jobs, Trump thanked Sanders for her service, and called her “a great magnificent person.”
“I just saw her in the room and I really wanted to call her up. She’s a special person, a very, very fine woman. She has been so great. She has such heart. She’s strong but with great, great heart. And I want to thank you for an outstanding job,” Trump said.
Sanders, who will be moving to her home state of Arkansas with her family, gave the speech after the president invited her to say a few words.
“I’ll try not to get emotional because I know cry can make us look weak sometimes, right?” Sanders said to a room full of people. “This has been an honor of a lifetime, the opportunity of a lifetime, I couldn’t be prouder to have had the opportunity to serve my country and particularly to work for this president.”
“He has accomplished so much in these two and a half years, and it’s truly been something I will treasure forever,” Sanders added.
“It’s one of the greatest jobs I could ever have. I’ve loved every minute. Even the hard minutes, I have loved it.”
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) June 14, 2019
Sanders said that she was leaving the job to spend more time with her children.
“The president is surrounded by some of the most incredible and most talented people you could ever imagine. And it’s truly the most special experience. The only one I can think of that might top it just a little bit is the fact that I’m a mom. I have three amazing kids and I’m going to spend a little more time with them.”
I am blessed and forever grateful to @realDonaldTrump for the opportunity to serve and proud of everything he’s accomplished. I love the President and my job. The most important job I’ll ever have is being a mom to my kids and it’s time for us to go home. Thank you Mr. President! https://t.co/wHNnq06AMg
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) June 13, 2019
Trump wrote in his announcement that Sanders should run for governor of Arkansas, a theme he returned to on Thursday.
“I don’t know … if we can get her to run for the governor of Arkansas, I think she’ll do very well. And I’m trying to get her to do that,” he said.
The question of who will succeed Sanders in the role of White House Press Secretary is still to be determined.
Several names that have been thrown around in media reports include former White House Director of Communications Anthony Scaramucci and Stephanie Grisham, Communications Director for first lady Melania Trump.
Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.