It’s been over a year since Sarah Sanders left her job as the White House Press Secretary, a position she held for nearly two years, starting in mid-2017. Thanks to the gig’s current employee, Kayleigh McEnany, she’s no longer the most notorious person to ever hold that job, though both have been routinely accused of lying to the nation to protect her boss. And yet in her new memoir, Speaking for Myself, Sanders offers one anecdote that doesn’t exactly paint Trump in a positive light — even though it’s possible she finds it charming.
As per The New York Times, one of a number of publication who received advanced sections of the memoir, Sanders has a story about a creepy run-in she had with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during a summit held in Singapore in 2018. At some point, Sanders writes, Kim “made direct eye contact and Kim nodded and appeared to wink at me.” She says she was “stunned,” and on the trip back home on Air Force One, she relayed the anecdote to Trump and then-White House chief of staff John F. Kelly. That’s when Trump’s boorish side came out:
“Kim winked at you?” Mr. Trump asked, adding, “Are you telling me Kim Jong-un hit on you!?!?”
Ms. Sanders made clear she didn’t mean that, but Mr. Trump and Mr. Kelly continued to joke about Mr. Kim’s intentions.
“Well, Sarah, that settles it,” Ms. Sanders recalls the president joking. “You’re going to North Korea and taking one for the team! Your husband and kids will miss you, but you’ll be a hero to your country!”
Of course, it’s highly unlikely Sanders, whose memoir is reportedly filled with glowing remembrances of her contentious former employer, meant this to be read in a negative light. Boys will be boys, seems to be her intended takeaway. But given his history of sexism — and the over two dozen women who have accused him of sexual misconduct — a story about the president joking about one of his top female staffers submitting herself to one of the world’s most powerful dictators doesn’t, to put it lightly, come off too great. Sure enough, the story didn’t go over so well over Twitter.
First, a word from comedian J-L Cauvin, who’s doing his best Trump imitation.
Donald Trump asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders to perform Missionary work in North Korea with Kim Jong Un. pic.twitter.com/hI3322Q6Dz
— J-L Cauvin (@JLCauvin) September 2, 2020
i couldn't tell you how many times i've heard sarah sanders say donald trump is respectful to women — yet in her own book she recounts the time he "howled with laughter" at the thought of her being prostituted to kim jong un for diplomacy https://t.co/rgdO6og1se
— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) September 2, 2020
2/That said, Sarah Sanders, didn't deserve the sexual harassment that Trump threw at her. "Take one for the team" is something predatory bosses have thrown at their female employees for countless years. Any other *president doing this — would have been immediately removed.
— Maya Contreras (@mayatcontreras) September 2, 2020
Trump told Sarah Sanders to “take one for the team” when Kim Jong Un winked at her. Trump is disgusting.
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) September 2, 2020
This is the same Sarah Sanders who said, when asked about Jeff Sessions citing the Bible to justify family separations, "I can say that it is very biblical to enforce the law." https://t.co/s6ldEQpn5X
— Jacob Soboroff (@jacobsoboroff) September 2, 2020
Can we focus less on Sarah Sanders' appearance and more on the fact that Trump joked about pimping her out to a brutal dictator while John Kelly howled with laughter? Thanks.https://t.co/cUxrqpiTrt
— Holly Figueroa O'Reilly (@AynRandPaulRyan) September 2, 2020
The fact that even the most loyal Trump staffers can’t write memoirs without sharing such repulsive stories that they would rank among the worst scandal of any other presidency is a true testament to Trump’s core awfulness. https://t.co/mjCHuxRWN5
— Garrett M. Graff (@vermontgmg) September 2, 2020
Though some simply found the tale yet another bizarro detail from Trumpland.
I have to confess that I did not have "Kim Jong-un hits on Sarah Sanders" on my Donald Trump Perpetual Firehose Of Fucknuttery Bingo card
— Jeff Tiedrich (@itsJeffTiedrich) September 2, 2020
Kim Jong Un wanting to fuck Sarah Sanders was on my 2020 bingo card so all I need is Richard Marx admitting he is the leader of Antifa and I have bingo!!!!
— Tony Posnanski (@tonyposnanski) September 2, 2020
In lighter news, Sanders book also has an anecdote about Trump, at the same summit, offering Kim a Tic Tac breath mint, only for Kim to respond with confusion. He was, Sanders thought, “Probably concerned it was an attempt to poison him.”