Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders made it official on Monday that she is running for governor of Arkansas, posting an announcement video that has echoes of Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign.
“As governor, I will defend our right to be free of socialism and tyranny, your Second Amendment right to keep your family safe and your freedom of speech and religious liberty,” she said. “Our state needs a leader with the courage to do what’s right, not what’s political correct or convenient.”
She also refers to “far left and their allies at CNN or the New York Times,” an indication that at least part of her campaign will co-opt Trump’s attacks on the news media.
Sanders was White House press secretary from 2017 to 2019, the longest tenure of any of the four figures who were in that role during Trump’s term.
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The video opens with an anecdote in which she went with Trump to Iraq to visit troops at Christmas.
She also notes that “I was the first White House press secretary to require Secret Service protection because of a credible violent threat against me.”
She says that “we have seen violence in our streets, at a congressional baseball practice and at our Capitol. This is not who we are as Americans. To remain free, we must have law and order, and resolve our differences peacefully.”
Sanders was referring to the 2017 shooting attack on Republican members of Congress during baseball practice, and this month’s siege on the Capitol. In the latter case, she did not mention that Trump was impeached again on charges that he incited the riot.
Sanders’ father, Mike Huckabee, was governor of the state from 1996 to 2007. The current governor, Asa Hutchinson, cannot run again because of term limits.
She won’t be the first former White House press secretary to seek elective office. After serving as press secretary for John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, Pierre Salinger was appointed to fill a vacancy to the U.S. Senate in 1964 but lost an election for a full term that year.
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