White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is the last person I would hire for any job that deals with news and events.
I have some history around that White House job.
Ron Ziegler was a friend of mine. We met when he was at the University of Southern California (USC) and I was attending San Diego State. Young Republicans both, we were working for the 1962 campaign by Richard Nixon for California governor. He worked for campaign press secretary Herb Klein after Ziegler graduated from USC in 1961. (Nixon had just lost the presidency to John F. Kennedy in 1960.)
Nixon lost that 1962 election to Pat Brown, then bitterly and famously announced that the press wouldn’t have Dick Nixon to kick around “anymore.”
Ron joined a national ad/PR agency working for Bob Haldeman in the Los Angeles office. I returned to fulltime studies at San Diego State.
Fast forward to 1968: Nixon runs for president again, this time to win. Ron Ziegler became Nixon’s press secretary at the tender age of 29; I was the 27-year-old public relations director for northern Mexico’s largest business with offices in San Diego. I also carried suitcases full of cash from rich San Diego donors to the Nixon campaign.
Ziegler had no journalistic experience when he became Nixon’s press secretary. Experience was provided by former San Diego Union editor, Herb Klein who became Nixon’s communications director.
Whenever word reached my employer (a future convicted federal tax evader) that one Nixon appointee or another asked if they could talk to me, my employer would intervene and write a check to Nixon’s 1972 reelection campaign and gave me a raise. So, I never left for a Washington job.
Ron Ziegler’s lack of experience and 1000-percent loyalty to Richard Nixon caught up with him when the U.S.S. Nixon hit the Watergate shoals that caused the otherwise accomplished Nixon presidency to be swamped. Ron will always be remembered for labeling the Watergate burglary that eventually scuttled Nixon as a “third rate burglary.”
It goes without saying that Ziegler was the least honest, least experienced press secretary in history. He was overwhelmed by Nixon’s political suicide of committing illegal acts upon illegal acts.
My old friend Ron Ziegler, with whom I chased girls through Hotel Del Coronado hallways during Young Republican and California GOP state meetings, was a terrible press secretary, perhaps the worst ever — until now.
Ron lied so often hardly anything he said in defense of Nixon and the administration was greeted with derision. And sometimes laughter.
Fast forward again to 2017. President Donald Trump had to fire his first Press Secretary Sean Spicer, second worst in history, who irritated everyone, including Trump, by his specious over-aggressive presentation and, according to some critics, outright lying.
Enter Sarah Huckabee Sanders, only daughter of former Arkansas Governor and failed presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Elevated from her assistant press secretary job to replace Sean Spicer in the $176,461-salaried job as press secretary, Sanders took over from Spicer and immediately commenced lying to the press and the public.
I believe her biggest lie was asserting that President Trump did not write or dictate a release about Donald Trump Junior’s conspiratorial meeting with Russian intelligence-connected people in Trump Tower in June 2016. When she made that assertion, she also added that Trump did “weigh in” on the release’s preparation like any father would.
Unknown to her, apparently, and to the rest of us, two over-paid Washington D.C. lawyers and their staffs concocted a letter to Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller dated January 2018 in which they clearly stated that President Trump did, in fact, dictate the release in question about his son’s meeting with Russian operatives.
When questioned on June 4, 2018 about which version is true, hers from last year or that of the lawyer’s letter in January, Sanders said that she wouldn’t comment on a letter prepared by “outside” lawyers.
I believe Huckabee Sanders lied about that Donald Trump, Jr. event to protect her boss, President Trump. The lawyers’ letter proves beyond doubt she lied. Unless, of course, the lawyers did not tell the truth.
I never thought I would say this, but my friend Ron Ziegler is no longer the worst presidential press secretary. Ron barely makes third position now, after 500 days of Sean Spicer and Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Raoul Lowery Contreras is the author of The Armenian Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy and “Murder in the Mountains: War Crime in Khojaly.” He also wrote for the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.
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