TAIPEI, TAIWAN - Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders defended President Donald Trump's use of Twitter to get his message out and said Tuesday that the U.S. hopes that unrest in Hong Kong can be handled “both internally and peacefully.”
Speaking at a forum in Taiwan, Sanders said it is “always positive to have such great access to the president and what his thinking is.”
“I think the president has done a tremendous job, often going around the media and going directly to the American people, letting them know where he stands on a particular issue,” said Sanders, who no longer holds any position in Trump's administration.
Since leaving the White House in June, Sanders — one of Trump's most ardent defenders — has been hired by Fox News to provide political commentary and analysis across all its properties.
As press secretary for Trump, Sanders became known for quarreling with reporters who aggressively questioned her about any number of controversies involving the president.
Sanders said Tuesday that U.S. policy toward the increasingly violent anti-government protests in Hong Kong has been consistent and a peaceful resolution is hoped for. Trump has been largely silent on the four-month-old demonstrations.
“In terms of a specific position I wouldn't go beyond the fact other than US policy remains the same, and our hope again would be that things could be handled peacefully and internally,” Sanders said.
China's claims sovereignty over self-governing Taiwan and has said it intends to absorb the island under the same “one country, two systems” framework in place in Hong Kong. That proposal has been firmly rejected by the island's voters, who in 2016 elected independence-leaning Tsai Ing-wen as president.
Sanders also said the administration was behind Trump in seeking a more equitable economic relationship with China, amid the ongoing trade war between the sides that has taken a major toll on U.S. exports rattled global stock markets.
“The White House administration supports the president. We want to see better and more fair deals, particularly when it comes to trade,” Sanders said. “The president is not going to accept anything less. And he is going to continue to fight for what is best for America.”
Sanders has signed a deal to write a memoir about her time in the Trump administration.
The book deal added to speculation that Sanders is planning to run for political office in Arkansas, which votes for a new governor in 2022. Her father, Mike Huckabee, served as the state's governor from 1996 to 2007.