GLAAD, the nation’s top LGBTQ media advocacy organization, is calling for White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to resign after she admitted to special counsel Robert Mueller’s team that she misled reporters when speaking about President Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey.
In the Mueller Report, which was released publicly on Thursday, investigators noted that Sanders admitted to making multiple false statements to reporters regarding Comey’s firing, including that “countless” FBI agents had lost confidence in Comey’s ability to do his job.
The Mueller team, who had been investigating whether the president obstructed justice by firing Comey, noted in the report that Sanders admitted to misstatements, but said they were a “slip of the tongue,” and that the claims were made defensively, “in the heat of the moment,” but were not based on any evidence, according to The Hill.
In a draft termination letter, Trump had cited low morale among the rank-and-file FBI agents as justification for firing Comey on May 9, 2017.
The following day, Sanders spoke to reporters at the daily White House press briefing, reading from a prepared statement that alleged that the president, members of Congress, the Department of Justice, and FBI agents had all “lost confidence” in Comey.
Following her prepared statement, Sanders was asked by a reporter to respond to a report from a source at the FBI who expressed disappointment over Comey’s termination. She then insisted that “we’ve heard from countless members of the FBI that say very different things.”
Mueller wrote in his report that Sanders spoke to Trump following the briefing, and that the president praised her work “and did not point out any inaccuracies in her comments.”
Sanders would later repeat those same assertions during a May 11, 2017 press briefing after she was questioned by Michael Shear of The New York Times as to whether she had really spoken to “countless” FBI employees.
“Between, like, email, text messages, absolutely. Yes,” Sanders said. “We’re not going to get into a numbers game. I mean, I have heard from a large number of individuals that work at the FBI that said that they’re very happy with the president’s decision.”
Following the revelations regarding Sanders’ admissions to Mueller’s team, GLAAD called on her to immediately resign.
“The White House Press Secretary’s role is to keep the public informed about the most powerful office in the world,” GLAAD tweeted. “The position shouldn’t be held by someone who lies to the press.”
The White House Press Secretary’s role is to keep the public informed about the most powerful office in the world. The position shouldn’t be held by someone who lies to the press. https://t.co/tQ0AMKCgYq
— GLAAD (@glaad) April 18, 2019
GLAAD later followed up with another tweet attacking Sanders, noting that she defended Trump’s call for a complete ban on transgender service members by alleging that military leaders supported the president’s call for a ban.
During that exchange, Sanders alleged that allowing transgender individuals to serve openly in the military was an “expensive and disruptive” policy that “erodes military readiness and unit cohesion.” Critics of the president have since pointed to studies indicating that those claims are false.
“When Trump first tweeted about his ban on transgender service members, @PressSec spread misinformation about the ban without batting an eye,” GLAAD tweeted.
— GLAAD (@glaad) April 18, 2019
It then followed up with yet another tweet, this one directed at Sanders, saying: “@PressSec — it’s time for you to turn in your resignation.”
The Women’s March responded to that tweet with its own, saying: “Co-sign! It’s time.”