Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended President Donald Trump on Sunday over claims in a new book by an anonymous White House insider that aides to the commander-in-chief have to “dumb down” briefing materials to a single key point in order to make it easier for Trump to understand.
In excerpts of “A Warning” that were published by Business Insider, the author wrote that some officials in the Trump administration were instructed to reduce briefing materials in presentations because Trump “couldn’t digest too many slides.”
“They were told to cut back the overall message (on complicated issues such as military readiness or the federal budget) to just three main points. Eh, that was still too much,” the author wrote. “Soon, West Wing aides were exchanging ‘best practices’ for success in the Oval Office. The most salient advice? Forget the three points.”
The author continued: “Come in with one main point and repeat it — over and over again, even if the president inevitably goes off on tangents — until he gets it. Just keep steering the subject back to it. ONE point. Just that one point. Because you cannot focus the commander in chief’s attention on more than one goddamned thing over the course of a meeting, okay?”
The author explains that some officials reacted to the advice with disbelief, suggesting it was not possible to “dumb down their work to this level.” Yet those who dismissed the aides’ advice “invariably paid the price” when they approached Trump expecting an in-depth policy debate.
“‘What the fuck is this?’ the president would shout, looking at a document one of them handed him. ‘These are just words. A bunch of words. It doesn’t mean anything,'” the author wrote.
Sanders said during an appearance on a Fox News panel on Sunday that she thinks the book’s author is a “total coward” and added that she found the book to be “despicable.”
“It doesn’t read to me like somebody that’s spent real time with the president. You can’t spend the kind of time with him and have that takeaway,” Sanders said.
When pressed by Fox News’s Steve Hilton about how she would describe Trump and his leadership style, Sanders said “he’s very decisive.”
“I think it’s the opposite of how they lay it out. He takes information from a number of people, very quickly processes it, makes a decision and moves forward,” she said. “I mean, I’ve watched this process play out so many times, sat in hundreds of meetings with the president, and the idea that he can only take in one or two bullets is absurd.”
Hilton then goes on to bring up claims that the president “doesn’t read briefings,” to which Sanders claimed: “He reads more than anybody I know.”
“Every single foreign trip we actually would laugh about the fact he has boxes upon boxes, file boxes where he reads for hours,” she said. “The rest of us want to take a break, we want to sleep, the president works the entire time.”