White House Doubles Down: ESPN Host Who Criticized Trump Should Be Fired!

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders arrives for the daily press briefing, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Evan Vucci/AP

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday spent the second day in a row suggesting that an ESPN anchor should be fired for critical comments against President Trump.

After suggesting Wednesday that ESPN anchor Jemele Hill should be fired for calling Trump a “white supremacist,” Sanders said Friday that ESPN should simply be consistent in doling out punishment for political statements by its broadcasters. Sanders also said she stands by her assertion that Hill’s criticism constitutes a fireable offense.

“I think the point is that ESPN has been hypocritical. They should hold anchors to a fair and consistent standard. ESPN suspended a long-time anchor Linda Cohn, not too long ago for expressing a political viewpoint,” she said Friday. “The network’s public editor has said there’s been a perception that the ESPN has become political an that has harmed the network. This is clearly a political statement. They should be consistent in whatever guidelines they have set themselves in that front.” 

When pressed by reporters on why she was using the White House podium to suggest a sports news anchor gets fired, she said it’s “not a decision that I am going to make.”

“It is not my decision to make for a private company. I was asked specific about that individual. I made a comment. I stand by it. I think ESPN needs to stand by the standard that they have set in their own actions that they have taken about previous employees. I really don’t have much to add on that front,” she said.

Her remarks come after Hill published several tweets calling Trump a “bigot” and saying he’s a “white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.” 

During the White House press briefing Wednesday, Sanders suggested Hill should be fired. Hill later apologized to ESPN for the tweets. ESPN said in a statement that Hill has a right to her personal beliefs, but that it was inappropriate to use her ESPN platform to share them. ESPN accepted Hill’s apology.

On Thursday morning, Trump tweeted about the sports network, saying it is “paying a really big price for it’s politics” claiming people are “dumping” the network in record numbers.

“Apologize for the untruth!” he said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.
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