Former ABC News White House correspondent Sam Donaldson slammed press secretary Sarah Sanders, saying she’s had “a lifetime achievement Oscar for lying.”
In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Friday, the two discussed transparency in the Trump administration. The last time Sanders held a press briefing was on March 11.
Donaldson, who retired from ABC News in 2009, said he believed “true transparency” didn’t exist “because I think he [President Trump] doesn’t want it to exist.”
The former ABC News anchor said he had a good relationship with White House press secretaries since the John F. Kennedy administration.
“Except for Ron Ziegler who lied for Richard Nixon,” Donaldson pointed out. “I’ve never seen anything like this with Sarah Sanders and there’s a difference. And Ziegler lied about one thing, the question whether the president of the United States was covering up the Watergate burglary and all the questions that had to with that.”
However, the former anchor said Ziegler did answer questions about domestic and foreign policy truthfully.
“On the other hand Sarah Sanders simply lies about everything taking a cue from her boss,” he said. "Not just one thing. She’s had a lifetime achievement Oscar for lying.”
The former anchor admitted he did not know Sanders but felt sorry for her.
“I don’t know her. I feel a little sorry for her because it’s the boss who does it,” he continued. “She takes the cue from him. Leadership begins at the top and so does all the bad things that happen in the administration.”
Sanders came under scrutiny recently after special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report revealed that Sanders admitted to investigators that she had made an unfounded claim that “countless” FBI agents had reached out to express support for Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey in May 2017.
In a recent interview with “Good Morning America’s” George Stephanopoulos, the anchor pressed Sanders on the report.
“That’s not a slip of the tongue, Sarah, that’s a deliberate false statement,” the host said.
“Actually, if you look at what I said, I said the slip of the tongue was using the word 'countless.' There were a number of FBI, both former and current, that agreed with the president’s decision, and they continued to speak out and say that and send notice to the White House of that agreement with the president’s decision. James Comey was a disgraced leaker and used authorization to spy on the Trump campaign despite no evidence of collusion,” the press secretary replied.
The Associated Press contributed to this report