A top aide to President Donald Trump wore a pair of his birthday outfits to the inaugural ball last month in the midst of a fierce political fight over the administration’s response to the opioid crisis.
But in a candid interview with The Washington Post, Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she had never worn the outfits to events like the ball, when she was still a deputy assistant to Trump.
She told The Post that her father, former President Bill Clinton, had worn the suits, and she was grateful to him for the gifts.
But the pair of suits she wore to the inauguration, as well as a pair that her husband, President Donald J. Trump, wore, were a mix of outfits that were designed by other aides.
Sanders did not wear them on the night of the inauguration.
She also said that when she had worn them, her husband and others in the White Senate were not allowed to wear them because they were not official White House attire.
But that did not stop Sanders from making the argument in the interview that her choice to wear the suits to the ball was a deliberate choice to present the public with a picture of the President in a formal setting.
“He’s been in the limelight for so long, I wanted to show people I had been around,” Sanders said.
She added that it was not the first time she had been in a “dress and a tie” situation, when her husband had worn suits in the past.
“I have worn suits at other events,” Sanders told The Washington Examiner.
“I just wanted to make a statement to the people that I am a member of the Senate, a member who’s not wearing the suits.”
But it wasn’t a decision that I made lightly.
I had just been in my first term in office, and I was not really a fan of the suits,” she said.”
We were wearing them in the D.C. area, we had a big event that was going to be held here in the capital, and so I thought it was important to show them off, and make sure that the people could see that they were there, that we had the support of the White house, and that they had an opportunity to see who we were.
“But Sanders did admit that she wore the suits at the inauguration “in the heat of the moment” when she felt the need to, at a time when she said she was in a much stronger position to get the administration to do something about the opioid epidemic than at any other time in her political career.”
At that time, I was a junior Senator in the Senate.
So I was looking for a way to demonstrate to the world that we were doing something about this. “
My husband was a very important member of Congress.
So I was looking for a way to demonstrate to the world that we were doing something about this.
I wanted people to know that we did something about it.”
Sanders was one of six Democratic senators to sign a letter urging the administration in September to “immediately take immediate steps to end the epidemic of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that has killed hundreds of people across the country.”
The White House has resisted the call to address the opioid problem and has defended the Trump administration’s efforts to address it, arguing that the crisis is an “epidemic” that requires a national response.
Sanders, however, argued that the administration should focus on getting the drugs off the streets of the country.
“The idea that we’re going to somehow take fentanyl and turn it into a legal prescription drug, I think is not going to work,” she told The Examiner.
“There are people that are in the United States who are dying from this crisis.
It is an epidemic.
We have to get this out of the street.”
She added, “We’ve got to make sure we are getting the fentanyl off the street and we are taking the fentanyl out of our communities.”
Sanders, who served as deputy White House press secretary for the first two months of Trump’s administration, is one of the senior aides who had to be pulled from the Whitehouse press pool last week after a tweet accusing Trump of making up the date of the ball’s festivities.
She said the tweet was taken out of context and said she regrets the incident, but said she did not mean to imply that the president had been planning to throw the ball at the White Houses.
“It was taken totally out of left field,” she explained.
Sanders also told The Hill that she would have preferred to have been on the stage with President Trump, but that the events were not important enough for her to have her own personal time on the podium.
“That was a decision I made based on my personal perspective and personal feelings, and then I have to do what’s best for the WhiteHouse,” she added.
“And so I’m going to focus on that.”