Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who President Trump announced Thursday would soon be leaving her position as White House press secretary, said that she hoped her legacy would be as a person who was, "transparent and honest throughout that process" and did "everything I could to make America a little better that day than it was the day before."

 White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders conducts the daily news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House May 17, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

"Not Founded On Anything": The Epitaph for the Sarah Huckabee Sanders Era

The now infamous phrase points to how the Trump administration has embraced a cruel, cynical, nihilistic worldview rooted in nothing but the quest to obtain and maintain power in the service of personal gain

Christian Christensen

At Politico's "Women Rule" event in late 2018, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who President Trump announced Thursday would soon be leaving her position as White House press secretary, said that she hoped her legacy would be as a person who was, "transparent and honest throughout that process" and did "everything I could to make America a little better that day than it was the day before."

"In essence, Sanders embraced a scorched earth strategy where—in a quite shameless effort to defend Trump—she would gladly sacrifice core elements of democratic society."

Of course, given the sheer volume and magnitude of lies Sanders and her boss have inflicted on the U.S. population over the years, it's hard now not to laugh at these words. Most recently, Sanders claimed that she had heard from "countless…individuals who work at the FBI who said they were very happy" with the firing of James Comey. It should go without saying that Sanders simply made that up. When offering testimony under oath to the Mueller investigation, Sanders openly admitted that her statement "was not founded on anything."

"Not Founded on Anything." I can't think of a better epitaph to trademark for the Sarah Huckabee Sanders era at the White House. Actually, I can't think of a better epitaph for the Trump administration in general.

The phrase "Not Founded On Anything" points to the role of Sanders in the embrace of a cruel, cynical, nihilistic worldview rooted in nothing but the quest to obtain and maintain power in the service of personal gain. (After all, this is a person who even lied about the death of migrant children at the U.S. border.) I previously described this Trumpite worldview as "corrosive dystopianism" which encourages "the rejection and destruction of the very structures in society that can, if reformed properly, be agents for positive change." Journalists? The state? Universities? Courts? Science? Immigrants? The FBI? All pitched as obstacles in the way of so-called "patriots" searching for their piece of the American Dream. If we have to lie to crush those institutions, well, that's the rather counter-intuitive price of freedom.

In essence, Sanders embraced a scorched earth strategy where—in a quite shameless effort to defend Trump—she would gladly sacrifice core elements of democratic society, such as a free press.

Make no mistake, this strategy was not a glitch or bug in the Trumpite operating system. It was—and remains—a feature of that system. Sanders was not simply doing her best at an "impossible job," as New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof tweeted. On the contrary, Sanders was doing precisely the job that she was asked, and loved, to do: lie, attack, deflect and question the very nature of reality, and undermine anyone or anything that threatened the power of the privileged.

And, let's not lose sight of the irony of conservatives who endlessly pontificate about the evils of "liberal, postmodern" university classes where the "nature of reality" is questioned gleefully falling into lock-step behind an administration that has done nothing but question fact, truth, and reality.

So farewell, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Your tenure was indeed "Not Founded on Anything." And that's one of the most dangerous foundations imaginable.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
Christian Christensen

Christian Christensen

Christian Christensen, American in Sweden, is Professor of Journalism at Stockholm University. Follow him on Twitter: @ChrChristensen

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Congress Must Act': Bernie Sanders Demands End of Filibuster to Codify Abortion Rights

"We must pass legislation that codifies Roe v. Wade as the law of the land in this country. And if there aren't 60 votes to do it, and there are not, we must reform the filibuster to pass it with 50 votes."

Jon Queally ·


Human Rights Defenders Warn Biden Border Policy 'Quickly Transforming Into Trump 2.0'

Like his predecessor, President Joe Biden now being accused of "using racist, xenophobic tropes about immigrants to weaponize Covid-19 against migrants and asylum-seekers."

Jon Queally ·


'Bombshell': Israeli Spyware Used to Hack iPhones of US State Department Officials

Calling the Israel-based spyware maker NSO Group an "in-plain-sight national security threat," one expert warned that "a multi-agency investigation is immediately needed."

Jessica Corbett ·


US Progressive Caucus Hails Honduran Election as Chance for 'New Chapter' in Relations

"We encourage the Biden administration to use this opportunity to make a clean break with previous presidential administrations, which worked to ensure that the 2009 coup d'état succeeded."

Brett Wilkins ·


'The Facts of This Case Are So Egregious': Parents of Michigan School Shooter Charged in Killings

"There were a lot of things that could have been so simple to prevent," the Oakland County prosecutor said of the mother and father now being sought by law enforcement.

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo