Sarah Sanders took to the White House press podium Tuesday afternoon to answer questions for the first time in the briefing room after a tumultuous week of news for the administration. Sanders was asked almost immediately about the controversial comments the president allegedly said, calling third-world countries “shitholes” during a meeting with lawmakers at the White House last Thursday.
The administration has denied the comments and said the president’s remarks were being misrepresented.
Sanders was asked if the comments, paired with Trump’s alleged comments on preferring immigrants from Norway, had racist undertones. “Does a good deal include then preferring white immigrants from Norway rather than black and brown immigrants from Haiti?” the reporter asked.
Sanders got heated at the question and responded passionately “Not at all.” She went on, detailing that a merit-based system is colorblind:
“In fact, it’s actually the opposite. By definition a merit-based system is colorblind. It’s not basing it on any of that criteria. It’s not based on race, not based on religion, not based on country of origin. It’s actually was based on the merits of whether or not this person is going to be contributing to society.” Actually, it erases all those things and makes it a much more fair system instead of picking and choosing trying to meet different quotas of different things.
Then, Sanders took it to the Democrats who said they wanted this system in the first place:
It’s a merit-based system and, frankly, a system that most Democrats supported and voted for just two years ago. Now that this president is championing it, they are showing just absolute signs and definition of what hypocrisy looks like. Look, the bottom line is, we want a deal on DACA. They want a deal on DACA. We want a deal on border security. They want a deal on border security. They said they support these things.
They also said in the past they support merit-based immigration. I don’t see what is complicated here. We all want the same things. Democrats need to quit playing politics and start doing what they were elected to do and that is governing, and they need to come to the table with the real deal based on the parameters that were discussed in the meeting that most of you saw and let’s try to get something done for the American people.
The response was a rare moment where Sanders appeared on the verge of losing her temper.