The release of a lightly redacted report on Russia’s meddling in the US Presidential election of 2016 (the “Mueller report”) has put the White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, on the defensive with regard to untruths of hers concerning the dismissal of former FBI director James Comey in 2017.
Sanders has been a lightning rod for criticism throughout her tenure as press secretary: and only in part because that is her job.
In May 2017, after President Trump fired FBI director James Comey, Sanders justified that firing by saying that Comey had lost the confidence of the Bureau. She said she had “heard from countless members of the FBI that are grateful and thankful for the President’s decision.”
When the Office of the Special Counsel interviewed Sanders and asked her about the Comey finding in general, and that assertion in particular, Sanders could name no FBI agents or employees who had told her such a thing. She said it was a “slip of the tongue.”
The Thing to Know:
Trump administration critics have not been kind to the “slip of the tongue” characterization of statements they consider blatant lies. At best, they say, someone whose tongue “slips” repeatedly and misleadingly ought not to be serving as the administration’s public face.