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Sonny Side of The Farm Episode 1 PODCAST


Well hello everyone we’re here back at our
podcast and I’m in Little Rock Arkansas. In a famous place with a famous person. One of my good friends Sara Sanders who’s
had a surreal environment the past couple of years, 2 or 3 years. So Sara I appreciate you joining me here in
Little Rock. Absolutely. It’s such a privilege and an honor to have
you here in my home state and always good to see friends from the administration. The President is so lucky to have you out
there fighting for him and it’s great to see you and glad that it happens to be in
Arkansas. Well you’re kind to say that. I don’t think anybody fought harder than
you did and everyone admires the service that you gave to the administration, to the President
in really one of the toughest jobs in the administration. I don’t know if there’s ever been a President
like President Trump. So certainly from a communications perspective
you had to be pretty nimble didn’t you? Absolutely. He made it hard but he also made it a lot
of fun and uh I loved the job that I had. It was such an honor to serve the President
and the people of this country for a little over 2.5 years. And we had a wild but fun and exciting ride. And I think we got a lot of things accomplished. So it’s something I will always treasure
and I’m grateful for the opportunity and experience that he gave me to be part of this
team. Well that’s great. I know you’ve been kind of decompressing
since the end of June. Haha we’re trying to. And I know it takes a while. I know your three children Scarlett, Huck
and George are happy to have their mama back because it was a 24/7 job and everyone knew
that. I know Bryan’s happy to have his wife back
as well. But we’re here at Joe’s Eat Place in Little
Rock, Arkansas sort of a famous venue for Arkansas politicians and political events. And we’re back in a small room that I was
commenting earlier, it’d be amazing if these walls could talk. They’ve seen and heard a lot there. You know I want to get back to your service
of the President a little later but you kind of grew up in this environment. So what you took as a young child, actually
preteen there with your father, who is obviously a good friend of mine. We served as governors together when he was
in the last second term in Arkansas and I was in my first term in Georgia. But I always admired him I always thought
he was a wonderful communicator for our values and our way of life. But you had a front row seat to his career
there and so you kind of grew up with it. I hope that helped to prepare you. Although, I’m not sure anything can fully
prepare you for your role. As much as anything could, it certainly did. You know we often joke that a lot of kids
went to summer camp and we went to the festival circuit across Arkansas. And you know we’ve talked about, you and
I, that every county has a fair and every city has something to celebrate and we went
to all of those events. And so I got to be a part of that with my
dad. It was one of the things that I loved about
politics is that you got to interact and meet people from all walks of life whether it was
the fancy fundraisers or the you know backrooms and little eat places across the state. You got to interact with so many types of
people. It was one of the things I loved and I got
to see all of those things come together to support one thing. And that was loving either the state or the
country. I got to see that with the President and it
was such a tremendous expansion of what I got to see as a kid mostly travelling around
Arkansas and later travelling around when my dad was running for president. I love the idea of being a part of something
bigger than myself and trying to contribute to making it better. You know that was the draw I had in Arkansas
and then again to work in the White House. True voice of a public servant and I think
that’s true. I think you’ve served a President that’s
been known as a populist, but you grew up in a populist household. I like to think of your dad Mike Huckabee
as probably having a two octave range of personal relationships. He was a man of the people ever since I’ve
known him and a wonderful communicator about the things that really matter to people. How did that influence you and your family? You’ve got siblings and your family. You’ve been involved in it for a long time. You know he was also ah um, everyone sees
the public side. I got to see the personal side. He’s also an amazing father and one of the
things that he did that meant so much to us was he showed us how to prioritize the things
that mattered. And so no matter what was going on in his
life whether he was lieutenant governor, governor, or running for president he made time for
our family. Until the day that I graduated from high school,
every Wednesday morning I went to breakfast with my dad. It was protected, reserved time. And obviously we spent a lot of time outside
of that, but this was my time that his staff knew not to schedule anything, and it was
a time for us to share and just spend time together one on one. And it was such a special time, but it was
also something that showed me how much he prioritized the relationship he had with me
and my brothers. That we had that kind of protected moment. And so I got to see what was important to
him and reminded that no matter what role you take on in a public square, what happens
in your personal life has to be a priority. And that was one of the things that I think
everybody thinks that politics is probably what helped me best, but being a mom also
helped prepare me to take on that role. I’m the first mom that’s ever served as
the White House Press secretary. You mentioned my kids, they’re Scarlett,
Huck and George. They’re 7, almost 6 and 4. And so a little bit wild and crazy at my house. I used to always joke that if the press wanted
to see real chaos they had to leave the White House and come to my house, trying to get
kids out of the door every morning. So I think being in that role really helped
me prepare in a different way and in a way that I didn’t even know I was being prepared
for. And having to handle kind of the different
things toddlers can throw at you at one time certainly mattered. And getting really comfortable saying no and
answering the same question over and over again didn’t hurt too much either. I hadn’t thought about how motherhood could
prepare you for your press job there, your communications job. But that’s exactly right answering the same
question over and over, they’ll try to trick you as children will come at you in a different
way. Absolutely. But you had dealt with press and those three
earlier on. That’s good. You mentioned life lessons there from your
dad with breakfast. Those really are the kind of wisdom transfers
that he had the privilege to do. I guess I need to ask you a personal question
in case your brothers are listening to this podcast. You were your dad’s favorite right? I think I’m gonna not answer that question. I got really good at avoiding a lot of questions
over the course of 37 years on that topic. But I will say this, I’m the youngest and
I’m the only girl. 7:01
Sonnyside – 7:00-14:00 I’m the only girl and that’s not a bad
spot to be in. Again, I have a great relationship with both
of my parents and my brothers. We have an amazing family and I’m thankful
they still claim me even in public. I will leave that at that and not get myself
into too much more trouble. You have a long skill set honed in the White
House there about evading questions that don’t need to be answered. That was a good way. But really, you talked about the idea of motherhood
and one of the things I appreciate about President Trump and one of the things I’ve learned
to respect him when I saw the relationship he has with his children. As well, I think those are very important. He talked about a wholesome healthy family
relationship with your mom and dad, your husband, your children, and your siblings. That’s really what America is about. That’s really what makes us a great country. We get so focused sometimes on the litmus
test issues and policies and things that divide us. But isn’t that what really family… Absolutely and they want someone who cares
about the same things they do. And they may not always agree with the President’s
style or the way he approaches things. But they love that he loves this country and
they love that he wants to do good things for it. I mean, I often say a couple things about
the President. One, you can’t fake good kids. He has amazing kids who are very active, and
not just in his political life, but they all were very active in his professional life. I mean you saw them all work in business,
obviously not Barron, he’s a little young for that. But they have a great relationship with their
father, and you get to see that on full display having worked at the White House and you see
them out on the road, and on the campaign trail. Really involved in what he’s doing. And not because they need it, because certainly
I think they have all had tremendous independent success. And could easily avoid a lot of the criticisms
and not go through the pressure that comes with being in the public eye. And they’re willing to take that on and
not just because they want to be a part of it, but because they believe in their dad
and they believe in the country and they want to see great things continue to happen under
his leadership. And I think its really a testament to each
of them as well as the President that he has that relationship and they’re all out there
and a part of the process. When you mention something, I think it really
is a sacrifice in public service, when it’s done right. And I mean like you, Brian was a great father
and helper husband to you during that period of time. But you were on 24/7 365, travelling and different
things like that. And just like the President’s children,
it is a sacrifice, they could be and were doing some pretty significant things other
than that. Many people think of the glory and the glamour
but its obviously a lot more than that. You mentioned something earlier, and I think
this is their motivation and they see it in their dad, and the one thing I appreciate
other than being a good father – this guy loves America and he doesn’t apologize for
America. That inspires me as a citizen. As a United States citizen of the United States
of America. That inspires me and you cannot question – you
can question the way he does things sometimes, but you cannot question his love for this
country. Well and I think you see that in everything
that he does. He takes on a lot of these tough challenges
that have been ignored for so long. And I think you take a look at what he’s
doing with this battle with China. And its not easy, he’s going through a lot
of growing pains and taking some minor economic hits. But the President knows this is the right
thing to do for the United States. And that its something that has to be done. We cannot continue to allow China to come
in and rip us off. At some point we have to decide who’s going
to be the leader of the world. Is it going to be the United States or is
it going to be China? This president has decided that as long as
he’s president, its going to be the United States. And I think his ability to see things like
that and be willing to stand up and fight when in the past I think we just brushed them
under the rug because it was easier or politically advantageous and he’s not willing to do
that. That shows day in and day out that he loves
this country. That he’s willing to take on some of those
political battles. That his predecessors didn’t want to do. I want to mention something that I also admire,
his willingness to fight for what he thinks is right. And this obviously has brought many slings
and arrows – and I don’t think the other side is used to having someone stand up and
unapologetically declare what he’s for the United States of America and I think that’s
why he’s got so much done. Obviously, your job was to be the first defender
with the shield there, and you’ve got many of those things and the things that were said. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a President
castigated so unfairly in the press and publicly as this President. And the Country is doing as well as it has
under this President, yet 90% of the news coverage about him and his administration
is negative. Its hard to argue with that type of information
that the media is not completely biased and out to get this President. And I think that’s sad that the media would
rather attack and see the President fail, than they would see America succeed. And you see that day in and day out. That doesn’t mean all media because that’s
certainly not the case. There’s some people that show up and work
hard and they just want to get information out there. There are a lot of people whose sole purpose
is to show up and find ways to hurt anyone that is around the President and to hurt the
President himself. And I think that’s it’s a dangerous place
that we’ve moved in to that in the political process. That’s one of the reasons I’m glad that
the President is so unwavering in his willingness to call out that type of bias and that type
of problem in our political system. 13:01
Well it’s interesting, that’s a big change. It’s frankly a tragic travesty change for
the United States of America. I remember when people that were elected not
of my choice. My goal was to say well my person didn’t
get elected, but I hope they’re good for America in that way. We don’t see that today. And I think the American people are smarter
than that. It’s one of the reasons that they elected
Donald Trump in the first place, is they wanted someone who was a fighter, they wanted somebody
who would come in, break up and change the way Washington worked. And he’s done exactly that and I think it’s
one of the big reasons you’re gonna continue to see him be successful. Well I know you’ve been asked this question
a million times, but I’m gonna ask it again because I think the people listening to the
podcast really want to know on a personal level what he’s like. You know you and I have had the experience
of being in the Oval Office and listening to him, hearing his heart about those things. But how would you describe your job and what
it was like to work with President Trump? One of the things loved about working for
the President there were no two days that were ever alike, sometimes that made my job
a little bit harder that you didn’t have that kind of structure and routine that some
white houses were used to. But you did have this sort of unity among
the team that I was working with that really came there wanting to serve the President,
really wanting to change the way that the White House had operated over the past eight
years, and really wanting to do something great for our country. In terms of the President, I think he’s
one of the most fun, engaging, charming, charismatic people I’ve ever been around. Even on a bad day he seems to make things
exciting and fun and he’s incredibly smart and I don’t think he gets credit for the
command of the issues that he has on such a far-reaching number of topics. Being President isn’t about knowing about
one or two things it’s about knowing about hundreds of things and about being able to
talk in depth about a lot of those different things whether it’s the agriculture community,
whether its financing and banking to world affairs you have to have some understanding
on all those things and how they relate to one another. And he seems to really be able to take a lot
of information quickly and make a decision and I think that’s one of the reasons he’s
been successful. But I think the easiest and simplest way to
describe the president is he’s just so fun to be around and someone who really loves
the country and I think you see that in everything he does. He’s certainly tough, I think he gets a
little of that from being a tough New Yorker who has fought in the real estate business
for a long time, but you see that in everything he’s doing. Whether its on this stuff with China, with
these trade deals, or whether it’s on the way he fights for America’s farmers he’s
making sure that we’re getting the best deal possible. And I think that’s again one of the reasons
he was elected in the first place. You mention something I want to ask you specifically
about I’ve wondered about it, I want to ask him at one point, I’ve told him my observation
of this: you mention growing up in New York City, the New York real estate business which
is not exactly a calm environment that way, a tough environment, how in the world did
a guy that grow up like that That kind of career in business have such
a genuine, sincere affection for our farmers and ranchers. I see it time after time after time there,
and it amazes me how he identifies with our agricultural community out here. You know, and you and I have talked about
this, I think one of the reasons is the President loves people that are just good hardworking
Americans. People who make things, create, who build. He can relate to people who are building something. Whether it’s a building or a crop for the
season, he’s somebody that appreciates that and I think he has that kind of love and affection
for them because he sees them as building our country. If we can’t feed ourselves then we can’t
be an independent nation and I think he recognizes that and he knows not just the love he has
for these people but the need that we have for this community. And he knows how important that is to our
country’s success and certainly our prosperity. I think that goes in hand with an anecdote
that I’ve heard that he would much rather go down with guy, the electrician and plumber
and all the people putting this together rather than talking to the architects and the engineers
that designed that building because he said he could learn a lot more from those people
that are really building it with their hands about what needed to be done than the people
he had hired to design that building. Yeah and I think that one of the things he
used to do I’ve always heard is that he was one of the guys he would actually go down
to the construction site, I think they said that’s why he was usually able to get things
done on time and on budget was because he went down and watched things take place first
hand instead of leaving that for somebody else and he loves that part of the process
and being right there front row seeing it all happen. And I watched in a number of meetings where
people were talking about different projects and he wanted to get into the weeds and talk
about the nitty gritty details about how something was being built and created and I think that
comes from his background as a builder and I think it’s one of the reasons he has such
an affection for the farm community across the country. And it’s cost. I know many people may not think of him as
a fiscal conservative but he’s trying to get a good value just like he got in his business
career for the United States of America, in that regard as well. You mention the wide array of skillsets that
he has. He does have an amazing, instinctive ability
to make decisions and much time with less then perfect information. But his intuition and his instincts seem to
me to be well honed, well-practiced in that regard. He gets his information by asking questions
and he’s not afraid to have people in front of him who disagree. And he’ll pepper them with questions about
why they disagree, and then learn from that about the decision he has to make. I’ve found that to be an attribute of a
good leader. The way I describe that, I know you remember
the NAFTA discussions about having that withdraw draft already done from NAFTA and he allowed
me to come in and say “Mr. President He does change his mind. I like a leader that is decisive and forceful
and knows where he wants to go. And what I’ve also admired is he has this
little back door there and if you go in with the facts and the data and he’s also willing
to change his mind. That’s the sign of a good leader. He doesn’t just surround himself with people
that think like he does. He has a pretty diverse cabinet of personalities
and people that come from a variety of different backgrounds. He loves to engage with them
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