President Donald Trump set himself up this morning when he tweeted a demand that ESPN apologize for Jemele Hill’s “untruths” about him. He was referring to Hill’s tweet calling him a “white supremacist,” among other remarks.
Sure enough, a few hours later, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders got asked at her briefing, “Does that mean he’s willing to apologize for birtherism claims that he had made for years?”
“I think the president has made many comments on that front,” Sanders responded, making the reporter’s point. Trump for years led the charge on spreading the lie that President Barack Obama could not hold the office because he was not born in this country.
“ESPN has been hypocritical,” Sanders continued quickly, clinging to her talking point. “They should hold anchors to a fair and consistent standard.”
Hill, meanwhile, has issued a statement saying: “My comments on Twitter expressed my personal beliefs. My regret is that my comments and the public way I made them painted ESPN in an unfair light. My respect for the company and my colleagues remains unconditional.”
ESPN followed with its own statement: “Jemele has a right to her personal opinions, but not to publicly share them on a platform that implies that she was in any way speaking on behalf of ESPN. She has acknowledged that her tweets crossed that line and has apologized for doing so. We accept her apology.”