Sarah Huckabee Sanders has taken on a new higher profile in the White House, running the press briefing as a sub for Sean Spicer.
That’s fueled talk that President Donald Trump is monitoring Sanders’ performance to possibly replace Spicer with her at the podium permanently. Sanders denies this.
However, the new role has made people curious about Huckabee Sanders’ family. She certainly has a political name (a double one). That has some asking whether she is related to former Arkansas Governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee or Democratic presidential primary candidate Bernie Sanders.
The answer: Yes, she is Mike Huckabee’s daughter. No, she is not related to Bernie Sanders.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Huckabee Sanders Is the Daughter of Mike Huckabee & Was Once Called His ‘Field General’
Huckabee Sanders has been involved in her father’s campaigns for years. She told The Hill that she was 9 when her dad first ran for elected office.
“He didn’t really have much of a staff, so our family has always been very engaged and very supportive of my dad,” Huckabee Sanders told The Hill.
“I was stuffing envelopes, I was knocking on doors, I was putting up yard signs. I’m absolutely my dad’s biggest fan, and anything he wanted to do, I wanted to be a part of.”
A 2007 profile in Time Magazine described her as Mike Huckabee’s “field general.” The former Arkansas governor is well known for his failed turns on the presidential campaign stage, as well as his affable nature and time as governor of Arkansas.
Before joining her father’s 2007 campaign, she worked “as a regional liaison with the Education Department in Washington,” reports Time. She directed field operations for the Huckabee campaign and worked on her father’s 2016 campaign in a prominent role too. She’s also been involved in the campaigns of numerous other candidates for office.
2. Huckabee Sanders Is One of Mike Huckabee’s Three Children With His Wife, Janet
Mike Huckabee and his wife, Janet, have three children: Sarah and her two brothers, one of whom also worked for Huckabee’s campaign, Time reports.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders has described her dad as her “hero.”
“I got to work for my hero and travel with him on a regular basis,” she told the Hill of her campaign work for him. “It doesn’t get much batter than that for a job.”
Janet Huckabee worked for the Little Rock Red Cross.
John Mark Huckabee and David Huckabee are Sarah’s siblings. David Huckabee is a mortgage broker who worked on his father’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Sarah’s brother, David Huckabee, was involved in a controversial incident at age 17 over the hanging of a stray dog at camp, reports Newsweek.
3. Huckabee Sanders Met Her Husband During Campaign Work
Huckabee Sanders hired her eventual husband to work on her father’s campaign. According to The Hill, “Sanders had been with Sen. Sam Brownback’s (R-Kan.) presidential campaign until it folded, so she hired him and one of his colleagues.”
She told the political site, “They were both kind of cute, [so I said,] ‘Well, we might be able to work something out’ — kidding a little bit there.”
Sanders works as a Republican campaign consultant with The Wickers Group, a “full-service political consulting firm specializing in strategic communication, surveys, media production,” the company’s website said.
He also worked on Mike Huckabee’s unsuccessful 2016 campaign for president and was previously a media consultant for other campaigns, such as that of Republican Ted Yoho for a House seat in Florida. Sanders created a well-received ad for that campaign called “Pigs.”
4. Sarah & Bryan Sanders Have Three Children
Huckabee Sanders, who is age 34, wished her 5-year-old daughter, Scarlett, a happy birthday from the White House podium.
Sarah posts about her family fairly frequently on social media.
According to The Washington Post, Huckabee Sanders and her husband also have two other children.
5. Sarah Could Be in Line to Replace Sean Spicer, Some Reports Say
Huckabee Sanders joined Trump’s presidential campaign after her father left the race in 2016, according to The Washington Post. She’s been working as his deputy press secretary, under Sean Spicer, but some reports suggest that might change.
Spicer could find his job on the line after what many felt was a bizarre press conference over the James Comey firing, a CNN report claims.
The highlight – or lowlight, depending on your perspective – came when Spicer allegedly hid behind bushes to dodge the television cameras as the media pressured him for answers on the FBI director’s controversial termination. That account came from the Washington Post, which later wrote that it had updated its story “to more precisely describe Spicer’s location near White House bushes on Tuesday night.”
The updated story claimed that, “White House press secretary Sean Spicer wrapped up his brief interview with Fox Business from the White House grounds late Tuesday night and then disappeared into the shadows, huddling with his staff near a clump of bushes and then behind a tall hedge.” The story also said that Spicer “was soon standing in near darkness between two tall hedges, with more than a dozen reporters closely gathered around him.”
Spicer was notably absent from the podium on May 10 as reporters demanded answers about the FBI director’s dramatic ouster. Taking his place was Huckabee Sanders, whose handling of the high-pressure briefing was generally well received.
Jim Acosta, senior White House correspondent for CNN, put the speculation into overdrive when he tweeted, “WH sources: Highest levels incl. POTUS evaluating Sanders subbing for Spicer in briefing room. Last night an ’embarrassment.. disaster.'”
Acosta and Dylan Byers, writing on CNN Money, reported that sources say the perception at the White House is that “Spicer has been ‘benched’ during a critical week, following the president’s termination of FBI director James Comey. And the big question, one source said, is whether it’s temporary or permanent.”
Of course, Spicer has a reason to be gone from the podium this week – a good reason. The press secretary is participating in previously scheduled Naval reserve duty at the Pentagon. However, CNN reported that such service could be rescheduled, and, certainly, the fallout over the Comey firing is a big moment for a presidential press secretary.
Sanders herself denounced the rumors that she might replace Spicer, saying they were not true, telling The New York Post, “That’s ridiculous. No changes here.”
It was only the second time that Sanders has run the White House press briefing. However, Politico reported that Trump was “pleased” with her past performance and said she will be handling the briefings for the rest of the week in the wake of the Comey firing.
You can watch Sanders’ press briefing here: