The liberal mainstream media at the White House were able to rattle former Press Secretary Sean Spicer, knocking him off balance and pretty much controlling the daily briefing.
Not so with his replacement.
On Wednesday, in her first on-air briefing since replacing Spicer, Sarah Huckabee Sanders set a brand new tone for the briefings — and made sure everyone in the cramped room knows she's in charge.
The MSM reporters who populate the 49 seats in the briefing room were fixated on President Trump's tweets about transgenders in the military. One ofter another, they asked Sanders about the ban — 13 questions in all. Sanders answered a bunch of them. Here are a few:
Again, implementation policy is going to be something that the White House and the Department of Defense have to work together to lawfully determine, and I would imagine the Department of Defense will be the lead on that and keep you posted as that takes place. ...
Once again, this was a decision based on what was best for the military and military cohesion, and on the counsel of his national security team....
As I've said before and I'll try to make this clear, this was a military decision. This was about military readiness, this was about unit cohesion, this was about resources within the military, and nothing more.
But reporters kept returning to the subject, despite Sanders already having answered the question.
Then Sanders took control. Tired of the same questions over and over, she said:
Guys, I really don't have anything else to add on that topic. As I do, I'll keep you posted. But if those are the only questions we have, I'm going to call it a day. But if we have questions on other topics, I'll be happy to take —
Not surprisingly, the topic for the questions quickly changed.
In her first on-air briefing since replacing Spicer, Sanders also sought to define herself and why she works for the White House.
We’re looking to mix things up a little bit. From time to time, I’d like to give us all a little reminder of why we’re here every day, which I imagine for most of us is because we love our country and want to help to make it better.
I've spent quite a bit of time around the President over the last year and I know exactly why he’s here. He's tough, he's a fighter, he's a strong leader, and he's somebody who deeply loves this country. And he loves its people and he wants to make America great again.
In Washington, it's often easy to go to work, get lost in the process, and forget why we're here every day. The reason we're here is to serve the American people. And today I’d like for you to indulge me and let me tell you a little bit about what that means for me.
To the best of my knowledge, I'm the first mom to hold the job of the White House Press Secretary. That says less about me than it does about this President. It’s not just with personnel, it's about people and it's about policy. Empowering working moms is at the heart of the President's agenda, particularly when it comes to things like tax reform.
I have three children, and the oldest, Scarlett, starts kindergarten in a few weeks. Scarlett and every little girl in America should grow up in a country that if we deliver on the President's agenda of better jobs, better healthcare, and a better tax system, that incentivizes women to work and raise children.
As a working mom, it's not lost on me what a great honor and what a privilege it is to stand here at the podium, and I thank the President for the opportunity. I'll always do my absolute best to truthfully answer your questions and to deliver the President's message.
But I also hope to send my daughter a message and to every other kid in America: Don't listen to the critics, dream big, and fulfill your potential —because in this country, you still can.
To remind us a little bit more often about some of the forgotten men, women, and children that we're here to serve and that the President is fighting for, we're going to start the White House briefing every once in a while with a letter or an email that we may receive from some of those individuals.
To kick it off with that process, I'd like to read you a letter from 9-year-old Dylan:
"My name is Dylan Harbin, but everybody calls me Pickle. I'm nine years old, and you're my favorite President. I like you so much that I had a birthday about you. My cake was the shape of your hat."
And then Dylan goes on to ask a few questions: "How old are you?" Dylan, President Trump is 71 years old. "How big is the White House?" The White House is 168 feet long, it's 70 feet tall on the south side, and 60 feet, four inches tall on the north, and it takes 300 gallons of white paint to cover the exterior of the White House residence. It has 132 rooms and approximately 55,000 square feet. "How much money do you have?" Dylan, I'm not sure, but I know it's a lot.
"I don’t know why people don’t like you." Me either, Dylan. "You seem really nice. Can we be friends?" I'm happy to say that I directly spoke to the President, Dylan, and he would be more than happy to be your friend. "My picture is in here. So, if you can, see me and say hello." Dylan, I hope you're watching, because the President wanted me to personally tell you hello. "Your friend, Dylan."
Dylan, thanks for writing to the President. And if you're ever in Washington, D.C., I hope you'll stop by and let us show you around the White House.
And with that, I'll take your questions.