Reporters Grill Sarah Sanders on What the Hell She Was Talking About in CNN Interview
White House reporters tried to get to the bottom of what White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was talking about during her CNN interview minutes earlier, with little success.
Sanders gaggled with reporters on the White House driveway Thursday morning, minutes after an interview on CNN’s New Day in which Sanders said that President Donald Trump would use “administrative action” in lieu of working with the Democratically-controlled Congress.
Sanders continued to insist that it was Democrats who wouldn’t “come to the table” that Democrats were literally sitting at when Trump stormed out of a meeting yesterday, and after which Trump vowed not to work with them as long as he’s being investigated.
NBC News’ Peter Alexander tried to get Sanders to specifically address the looming debt limit.
“Debt limit, government spending, is this a red line, does this mean the president is willing to default on the debt, does this mean the president is open to a shutdown because Democrats continue to investigate?” Alexander asked.
Sanders repeated her insistence that “the president and our team will look at administrative actions as well that we can take to fix some of these problems, and will keep you posted on the other stuff as we go through.”
A few minutes later, Bloomberg News correspondent Margaret Talev tried to figure out what Sanders was talking about when she referred to “administrative action,” as opposed to “the other stuff.”
“I watched the CNN interview, I’m still not sure if I understand what the White House’s position is,” Talev said. “Are you saying you would only attempt to pay the U.S. debt through administrative action, and that at this point the White House will stop, the president will stop working with Congress, are there no, I just don’t understand, I hear everything you’re saying but I don’t understand what it means.”
“No, I’m not saying that we’re only looking at the budget options through administrative action, but we are looking at addressing a number of the big problems, whether it’s prescription drug prices, border security, things like that, through administrative action,” Sanders said.”
“What about the debt?” Talev asked, but Sanders ignored her and plowed on.
“We’ll continue to do that as we have over the last several months, again the president would like to see Democrats come to the table and work with him, and that’s a decision that they have to make at some point, and we hope that they will,” Sanders said.
The debt ceiling cannot be raised through administrative action, only Congress can pass such an increase.
On Wednesday, an anonymous White House official told CNBC that the debt ceiling is not included in Trump’s promise to stop working with Congress, but Sanders refused to provide such an assurance on the record, despite several opportunities to do so. Failure to raise the debt limit could lead to a catastrophic default, and the threat of a default is also potentially destabilizing.
Watch the full gaggle above, via C-SPAN.
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