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“She’s not intellectually capable”: Knives out in TrumpWorld over Sanders’ “terrible” SOTU response

Salon 2/9/2023 Igor Derysh

Sarah Huckabee SandersAL DRAGO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images © Provided by Salon Sarah Huckabee SandersAL DRAGO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Prominent supporters of former President Donald Trump on Wednesday criticized Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders' response to President Joe Biden's State of the Union address.

Sanders, who served as Trump's White House press secretary, delivered a rebuttal to the president's speech that largely focused on Republican culture war issues and accused Biden of surrendering his presidency to a "woke mob that can't even tell you what a woman is."

"Most Americans simply want to live their lives in freedom and peace, but we are under attack in a left-wing culture war we didn't start and never wanted to fight. Every day, we are told that we must partake in their rituals, salute their flags, and worship their false idols, all while big government colludes with Big Tech to strip away the most American thing there is—your freedom of speech. That's not normal. It's crazy, and it's wrong," Sanders said, later adding that the "dividing line in America is no longer between right and left — it's between normal or crazy."

Former chief Trump strategist Steve Bannon lit into Sanders' speech on his "War Room" podcast on Wednesday, criticizing her for failing to mention Trump's name.

"It was an insult to President Trump. She does not exist politically if it was not for President Trump," he said.

Bannon called Sanders' speech "terrible."

"If you're gonna give a counter speech, you gotta talk about important issues," he said. "Don't get me wrong. The wokeism is very important. But it's not quite the heart of the matter right now, right? It's not the heart of the matter. She is not–and the reason is she's just not–she's not intellectually capable of going to the heart of the matter, right? Let's be blunt."

Bannon made the comments while speaking to longtime Trump booster Lou Dobbs, who was fired from the Fox Business Network for spreading false election claims.

Dobbs said the speech was a "great insult" to Trump, complaining that Sanders did not even mention his name when she discussed going on a Christmas visit to Iraq with the former president and the first lady.

"It looked like the Governors Association had written that speech and aligned themselves with Ron DeSantis. It was a shame," Dobbs complained.

"You are right this was like written by Ron DeSantis and the entire RGA," Bannon agreed.

Sanders also drew criticism from her hometown newspaper over her "snarling about wokeness and the radical left."

"It got pretty dark and weird," Austin Bailey wrote in an editorial at the Arkansas Times. "A word salad of talking points and name calling, with some attempts at folksy relatability thrown in, Sanders' rebuttal to Biden's State of the Union address was light on policy, heavy on menace."

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Conservative commentator Amanda Carpenter, a former aide to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, contrasted Biden's speech focused on "the economy and concrete issues" with Sanders' "deep plunge into dystopian culture wars."

"These annual canned rebuttals usually come off as tone-deaf," she wrote in an editorial at the Bulwark, "but with Sanders, there was an additional, unexpected contrast with Biden. She spoke for a dreary 15 minutes — all scripted according to teleprompter, with no audience. Biden spoke for more than an hour, with a teleprompter in front of plenty of hostile Republicans. Biden, 80 years young, rolled with it, tackling every tough subject on his agenda, inviting Republicans to join him at every turn. Sanders, 40 years old, droned on, her entire speech devoted to demonizing Biden."

Former Republican strategist Steve Schmidt accused Sanders of "abusing" viewers with "MAGA lies."

"Sarah Huckabee Sanders positioned herself as the voice of a rising generation of Americans. No thank you," Schmidt said on his podcast. "It was stale. It was old. It was an ugly speech from a lying governor who is unfit for any type of public service."

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