During Wednesday’s edition of Erin Burnett OutFront, the eponymous host and her panel reacted to White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders’s declaration that God “wanted Donald Trump to become President” during an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network. Burnett seemed to think that God playing a role in the electoral politics of the United States posed a direct threat to democracy.
Burnett seemed shocked by Sanders’s statement, arguing that “it’s a big thing to say that God...whatever God may be, he, she, it...wanted Donald Trump to become President.” Burnett asked Scott Jennings, former advisor to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, “does that make you blanch at all or are you okay with that?” Jennings responded, “I find it quite likely that supporters of any politician who wins believe that it was God’s plan for that politician to win. So, no, I’m not surprised to hear someone saying that.”
Burnett proceeded to scoff at the idea that God would have anything to do with electoral politics in the United States: “I thought we live in a democracy, right? The will of the people and now you’re saying it’s the will of God. I don’t know, there’s something about it that seems quite jarring to me, frankly.” Jennings stressed that he believed in the will of the people while proclaiming that “I happen to believe in the will of God and that his will will be done on this Earth whether we like it or not.” Burnett still seemed to have a hard time wrapping her head around that idea, asking Jennings, “And you think that God cares who’s President of the United States?”
Jennings never got a chance to answer that question, as the conversation quickly turned to another part of Sanders’s interview with CBN, where she talked about how she told her daughter that a woman “can do anything she wants to do.” After playing clips of comments made by Trump on the Howard Stern show as well as the Access Hollywood tape, Burnett asked Jennings “can you defend that person and set a model that a woman can do anything she wants to do?”
While Jennings made it clear that he did not approve of the President’s past behavior, he argued that it “doesn’t mean that women aren’t going to support the President. It doesn’t mean that he’s not going to appoint…strong smart women to his administration and it doesn’t mean they cannot ably serve this government even though he’s had some bad moments in his past.”
A transcript of the relevant portion of Wednesday’s edition of Erin Burnett OutFront is below. Click “expand” to read more.
Erin Burnett OutFront
ERIN BURNETT: New tonight, it was God. God wanted Donald Trump to be President. This is according to the White House Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders, who says this in a new interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network. Here she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH SANDERS: I think God calls all of us to fill different roles at different times and I think that he wanted Donald Trump to become President and that’s why he’s there and I think he has done a tremendous job in supporting a lot of the things that people of faith really care about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OutFront now Scott Jennings, former advisor to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Strategist Maria Cardona. Maria, do you think she’s right?
MARIA CARDONA: Wow.
BURNETT: God…this is what God wanted?
CARDONA: Well, if he did, it’s because he wanted to punish us for taking our democracy for granted and for not, not ensuring that every person went out there to vote and this is what we got. Look, I listened to the whole excerpt of the interview in terms of what’s available and one huge word jumped out at me, Erin, hypocrisy. There was so much hypocrisy in what Sarah Sanders talked about. The bottom line is that I can’t imagine that God would put or would want somebody to be the Commander-in-Chief, the leader of the free world, somebody who doesn’t understand the word truth, the word honesty, the word humility, the word integrity, the word honor, the word forgiveness. I mean, I could go on and on about how this President is actually the antithesis of Jesus Christ’s teachings and anything that real Christians would put on the table as something and someone that they would believe in.
JENNINGS: So, Scott, I mean, are you surprised? I mean, obviously the interview was with the Christian Broadcasting Network but it doesn’t matter who it’s with. I mean, it’s a big thing to say that God, whether, whatever God may be, he, she, it, she refers to as a he, wanted Donald Trump to become President. I mean, does that make your blanch at all or are you okay with that?
SCOTT JENNINGS: Well, I find it quite likely that supporters of any politician who wins believe that it was God’s plan for that politician to win. So, no, I’m not surprised to hear someone saying that. And I also think we have to remember that none of us can know God’s plan but we all try to live up to, you know, what the bible teaches us to do and we’re not perfect people and we’re not ever going be perfect and neither is Donald Trump and he has not been a perfect person and he’s not a perfect Christian but that does not mean that God doesn’t use imperfect vessels to achieve outcomes. And in this particular presidency’s case, he has achieved many outcomes that Christians…
BURNETT: But you really, you’re really, you’re really okay with that, like, are you really okay with that? I mean, I thought we live in a democracy, right? The will of the people and now you’re saying it’s the will of God. I don’t know, there’s something that seems quite jarring to me frankly whatever you believe about God.
JENNINGS: Well, I certainly believe in our democracy and I believe in the will of the people but if you think that, if you don’t believe in the will of God, I happen to believe in the will of God and that his will will be done on this Earth whether we like it or not.
BURNETT: And you think that God cares who’s President of the United States? I’m not trying to get into some like broad, existential conversation but, I mean, the whole thing. You know, look, I understand. The interview was with the Christian Broadcasting Network so that’s why God came up to begin with, Maria, to be fair, right?
BURNETT: That’s why the question was asked.
BURNETT: Okay? So, so I think that’s important to note. But there were other controversial things said in this interview by Sarah Sanders including this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: My oldest is a girl. I think it’s very important for her to see, even at this age that as a woman she can, she can do anything that she sets out to do and while it can be incredibly difficult to find that balance, I think it’s important that you don’t give up one thing for the other because I think having that balance is very important and my kids getting to see that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Maria. Your reaction?
CARDONA: So, I heard that as well, Erin, and I had a couple reactions. The first one, I’m a working mom myself as you are, as there are millions of us in this country so....
CARDONA: …I do agree with her that there is absolutely a, always a work life balance that you have to achieve and that, you know, she says she feels the mommy guilt. We all feel the mommy guilt when we leave our houses and yes, I give her that. Here’s the problem with what I had about her saying that to her little girl she feels it’s important that she… her little girl feels that women can achieve everything. Yes, I agree with that too. But Sarah Sanders is going to have to own up to the fact that years from now, she…her little girl is going to understand who Donald Trump was and the way that he treated, treated women, not just in the White House but throughout his whole life; how misogynistic he has been, the kind of language he has used, the Access Hollywood tape about how he thinks he can grab women’s genitals because he’s a celebrity and do nothing about it. I think those are the kinds of things that at some point Sarah Sanders and everybody who believes that Trump is, is in this White House to do great things regardless of whatever else he has done, they’re going to have to face themselves, face their children and look in the mirror and look at what they have done to empower this kind of Presidency, who frankly as a mother, I feel ashamed of who he is and that he will never be a role model to my children or, frankly, the millions of children that are out there both in the country and in the world.
BURNETT: Scott, do you see hypocrisy in what Sarah said?
JENNINGS: No. I listened to Sarah Sanders’ words today and, first of all, I’d like to salute Maria and you and my wife who is at home with our four children. All these working mothers taking care of these kids, doing the best they can to do their job and take care of their families and their households. I salute you. It’s why I’m able to sit here in Cambridge tonight, you know, do this stuff that I do up here at the university. But when I hear Sarah Sanders talk about feeling guilty when she has to leave her kids, I feel that same twinge when I leave home and I have to tell my kids I’m not going to be home for a couple of days. I don’t think it’s just mommy guilt, I think it’s all parents who are doing their level best to work and take care of their kids feel that same kind of pain and she’s expressing that pain and I don’t understand how anybody can be outraged that anybody would want to show their kids “I love you, I miss you, and I want to involve you in my life.” And I’m trying to raise my kids…
BURNETT: All of that is good. Scott, I guess the question is…
JENNINGS: …so when they get old enough to judge a presidency, they will do that.
BURNETT: So look, I hear your point.
JENNINGS: And they may like Donald Trump and they may not. But that’s what I’m trying to do and I think that’s what Sarah is trying to do as well.
BURNETT: I get it and I’m sorry to…I’m sorry to interrupt. I just…we are tight on time so I just want to get to the point. When she says, you know, at her age as a woman she can do anything she sets out to do. Of course, that’s the role model she’s trying to set. She goes everyday, she works incredibly hard. No one’s going to dispute that. The problem is she’s going out every day to defend someone who says this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: She gets out and she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions and, you know, you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: A person who is flat chested is very hard to be a ten.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful…I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.
BILLY BUSH: Whatever you want.
TRUMP: Grab them by the (bleep.) You can do anything.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
BURNETT: Scott, there’s a hundred more where those came from. I mean, you can just listen to Howard Stern over the past 15 years. Can you defend that person and set a model that a woman can do anything she wants to do?
JENNINGS: No, I’m not going to defend those remarks and I’m not going to defend when they were said, why they were said, I think the President was wrong. He has apologized for the stuff that’s been coming out about him and look, they’re all bad moments and no one is going to sit here and defend it but that doesn’t mean that women aren’t going to support the President. It doesn’t mean that he’s not going to appoint a strong smart women to his administration and it doesn’t mean they cannot ably serve this government even though he’s had some bad moments in his past. If your, if your position is no woman should serve the duly elected President of the United States, I don’t understand because I want more women in government, not fewer but you all seem to be arguing for fewer.
CARDONA: No, I think it’s, it’s somebody who has integrity, I think, would have a problem serving this President given what he represents and what he has done throughout his life and what he is doing to this country. Putting kids in cages, I don’t think is the right thing to do as Commander-in-Chief.