White House press secretary Sarah Sanders dismissed accusations from the media that conservative firebrand Ann Coulter holds undue influence over President Donald Trump’s White House and policy direction.
Coulter doesn’t have “influence over much of anything,” Sanders said with a laugh.
Not influential at all
Fox News host Dana Perino asked Sanders on Friday about a critical tweet by Coulter earlier that day, and whether Coulter held any influence on the policy decisions of the Trump administration.
Referenced a media question to Trump at the Rose Garden event that morning about outside conservatives influencing the White House, Perino read a tweet from Coulter that placed all of the blame for the bad border security deal on Trump, and asked, “Do you think the media over-exaggerates the influence that somebody like Ann Coulter has on the White House?”
Sanders replied with a laugh, “I don’t think Ann Coulter has any influence over this White House or influence over much of anything, to be honest.”
“I don’t think she did before the president became the president, and I don’t think she does now,” she continued. “I just don’t see her as being an influential voice in this country, and certainly not one in this building.”
Coulter criticizes Trump
Coulter was one of then-candidate Donald Trump’s earliest and most vociferous supporters, but as the president struggled against an unyielding Congress to make sufficient progress on securing the southern border, Coulter jumped off the Trump train. She harshly criticized the government spending bill and Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency.
Coulter’s Friday tweet read, “This is not Paul Ryan’s fault. It’s not Mitch McConnell’s fault. Trump ran AGAINST the GOP and won. Responsibility is 100% his.”
This is not Paul Ryan’s fault. It’s not Mitch McConnell’s fault. Trump ran AGAINST the GOP and won. Responsibility is 100% his.
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) February 15, 2019
Trump dismisses Coulter
Trump was asked by a reporter during the Rose Garden event on Friday if outside conservative voices — like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Ann Coulter — had shaped his policy views, but Trump replied in the negative.
Of Coulter, Trump said, “I don’t know her. I hardly know her. I haven’t spoken to her in way over a year. But the press loves saying ‘Ann Coulter.’ Probably, if I did speak to her, she’d be very nice. I just don’t have the time to speak to her. I would speak to her; I have nothing against her.”
“So I like her, but she’s off the reservation. But anybody that knows her understands that. But I haven’t spoken to her. I don’t follow her. I don’t talk to her. But the press loves to bring up the name “Ann Coulter.” And you know what? I think she’s fine. I think she’s good. But I just don’t speak to her,” he added.