Faced with aggressive on-air questioning about the president's wiretapping claims, Sarah Huckabee Sanders didn't flinch, she went folksy. Speaking to George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America, she pulled out a version of an old line from President Lyndon Johnson: "If the president walked across the Potomac, the media would be reporting that he could not swim." The 34-year-old spokeswoman for President Donald Trump was schooled in hardscrabble politics—and down-home rhetoric—from a young age by her father, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Her way with a zinger and her unshakable loyalty to an often unpredictable boss are big reasons why the deputy press secretary is a rising star in Trump's orbit, reports the AP.
Sanders credits her larger-than-life dad with helping her learn how to deliver a message. Huckabee, a frequent political commentator, has long been famed for his pithy rhetoric. The two speak most mornings before 6am. "I'll call and say, 'What do you think if I say this?' He'll say, 'That's really good. You might try to say it a little bit more like X,'" she said. Arkansas-raised, Sanders moved her young family—a Republican consultant husband and three young kids—to Washington to be part of the administration. As White House press secretary Sean Spicer's public profile has fluctuated in recent weeks amid criticism of his performance, Sanders has increasingly become a chief defender of Trump in some of his toughest moments. Her rise has fueled speculation that she's becoming the president's favored articulator—a notion she disputes. The AP has more on her background. (Read more Sarah Huckabee Sanders stories.)