If you can believe it, the Trump administration’s separation of migrant families at the southern U.S. border has sown even more discord in an already-chaotic White House. The latest peek behind the fraying curtain comes courtesy of Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman, who managed to wrangle up a few Sarah Huckabee Sanders confidantes to check in with how the White House press secretary is handling a wave of critical news coverage about the practice over the past week. How does it feel to be tasked with answering to countless images, reports, and soundbites of young children being penned up in government detention centers? Not so hot, Sherman writes:
For the second day in a row, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders—already eyeing an exit, though not for months—did not hold an on-camera briefing with reporters. “She’s tired of taking on water for something she doesn’t believe in,” a friend of Sanders told me. “She continues to have a frustration that the policies are all over the map,” another person close to her said. “It’s not a good look for Sarah.”
Sanders has been in the job for nearly a year, and during that time has distinguished herself with something of a superhuman capacity for deflection and condescension. The upshot of a long Politico profile in May summarized what motivated her on this hallowed mission as an “elemental force of loyalty” toward Trump. “She doesn’t consider the president an employer,” Chip Saltsman, Mike Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign manager, told Politico. “From her point of view, she’s defending a family member, because that’s how she’s always done it.”
But now Sanders is tired of her would-be family member. The idea of separating actual families at the border is not a good look for her! It must be nice to have a roving brigade of associates to convey such narratives to the press. But in the words of one particularly reptilian former West Wing aide: womp womp.