LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- For two years, she fiercely defended President Donald Trump during one of the most tumultuous times in American politics.
She is the only White House Press Secretary in history that needed Secret Service detail, was heavily criticized for her bouts with reporters and was once kicked out of a restaurant for her support of the president.
Now, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is back home in Arkansas and she’s opening up about her time at the White House, life in the Natural State with her family and her plans for the future.
“I don’t even know how young I was, but certainly something he always told me from a very young age and repeated over and over was to always be myself,” said Huckabee Sanders.
It’s wise advice from a man most of us know as the former Governor of Arkansas, but for Sarah Huckabee Sanders, he is just dad.
“I think that nothing could be truer, no matter what capacity you’re in, whether it’s the White House or your house. Be proud of who you are and who God created you to be,” said Huckabee Sanders.
It’s that piece of advice that Huckabee Sanders said she carried with her through nearly two years as White House Press Secretary. It’s a position that she said requires a lot of strength and thick skin.
“I think not only thick skin, but more importantly knowing who you are before you ever step foot in that room,” said Huckabee Sanders. “Having that definition, before I got there, made all the difference in the world and gave me the confidence to do my job.”
It was by no means an easy job. Huckabee Sanders was met with heavy criticism during her tenure. Her arguments with the press frequently made headlines and she was criticized for doing away with traditional press briefings.
“Every day, you are essentially walking a tight rope with no net,” said Huckabee Sanders. “You know there are a room full of people that are hoping you will make a mistake and they will push you to make a mistake most times, so trying to find that balance of providing information to the American people and the people in the room without creating and becoming the story and just giving information that’s helpful for the story can be a difficult challenge.”
She said by far her most difficult moment on the job had nothing to do with President Trump. Instead, it was addressing America on one of our darkest days, after a gunman in Las Vegas carried out the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history on October 1, 2017, killing 58 people.
“Knowing there were no words that I could offer that would bring comfort to those families or fix the horrific tragedy that had happened, but knowing there was a responsibility to offer something to the American people, was something that weighed on me a lot and certainly was one of the more difficult moments I ever had in that job,” said Huckabee Sanders.
A little more than a year since leaving her post, the mom of three has settled back into a new life in her home state with her family. She has written a book, started a non-profit and spends her Saturdays cheering for the Hogs.
“That is something all Arkansans, whether you are Republican or Democrat, rich or poor, no matter, can be excited that our football team is winning games we couldn’t be more excited about our coach and what he is doing,” said Huckabee Sanders. ‘I’m hopeful that can be one of those things that can bring people together.”
While she may not be responsible for answering questions from the White House Press Corp anymore, there is one question that she gets nearly every day – is she going to follow in her father’s footsteps and run for Governor of Arkansas?
“I’m very serious about a run for the Governor’s office and we will make a decision sometime after the election,” said Huckabee Sanders.
Until then, her focus is on making Arkansas home for her family, all while keeping dad’s advice close to heart.
“At the end of the day I love this state and I want to see what is best for us to continue moving forward and if I feel like I’m the person that can help do that, and feel like that’s the plan God has for me and my family, then we will make that decision,” said Huckabee Sanders. “But no matter what, we will always be committed to helping Arkansas and serving in some capacity.”
Huckabee Sanders said her other focus is on getting President Trump reelected. She said she will be spending election night in Washington, D.C. at a watch party for the President.