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Sarah Huckabee Sanders defends anti-woke executive orders, refuses to make 2024 endorsement

By Sarah May
January 16, 2023

In her first Sunday show interview since becoming governor of Arkansas, Republican Sarah Huckabee Sanders explained the rationale behind a number of executive orders she has already put on the books and took a cautious approach when asked who she supports in the 2024 race for the White House, as Fox News reports.

The wide-ranging insights from Sanders came during an appearance on Fox News Sunday, hosted by Shannon Bream.

Keeping promises

Discussing her first days in office as Arkansas' new chief executive, Sanders conveyed her desire to quickly begin delivering on the promises she made to voters during her campaign, as the New York Post noted.

The governor explained that she feels “pressure” to make good on the priorities she outlined in recent months and said she is willing to serve two terms in the role if that is what the electorate desires.

“That's the only thing that our team and that I am focused on is delivering what we laid out to do. And I look forward to serving as governor for a full eight years if the people of Arkansas will give me that privilege and that opportunity,” Sanders declared.

“And that's the only thing I'm spending my time focused on right now,” the governor added.

Hitting the ground running

To that end, Sanders has already signed a series of executive orders in keeping with the themes on which she campaigned, one of which takes direct aim at the proliferation of critical race theory (CRT) in Arkansas classrooms, as The Hill reports.

Sanders' order requires state authorities to review policies in order to eradicate teachings likely to “indoctrinate students with ideologies” about race, such as those that suggest that one race is superior or inferior to another race.

“Critical Race Theory (CRT) is antithetical to the traditional American values of neutrality, equality, and fairness. It emphasizes skin color as a person's primary characteristic, thereby resurrecting segregationist values, which America has fought so hard to reject,” Sanders has opined.

Another of the priorities discussed with Bream on which Sanders has already taken action was to ban the use in state government documents of the term “Latinx,” a gender-neutral term favored by the progressive left, but which has failed to earn buy-in from actual Latino citizens.

As CBS News reports, Sanders said that the order's purpose is “to respect the Latino community” and to eradicate “ethnically insensitive and pejorative language” that “has no place” in government materials or employee titles.

“One can no more easily remove gender from Spanish and other romance languages than one can removed vowels and verbs from English,” the order says of the term that a Pew Research Center study suggests only 3% of Latino adults actually use, but that is regularly part of far-left discourse.

Staying mum on '24

The part of Sanders' appearance with Bream that has garnered perhaps the most headlines, however, is the governor’s declining to formally endorse former President Donald Trump – in whose White House she served as press secretary – in his 2024 bid for the Oval Office.

“I'm not really focused on that at all, but focused on what we can do to impact change and deliver on the promises we made during the campaign season here in Arkansas,” Sanders demurred.

Bream did not appear satisfied with that answer, asking, “What kind of timeline would you have for making a decision? Do you want to see who else gets into the primary? Will you wait for the nominee?”

The governor refused to take the bait, however, replying, “My focus isn't on 2024. It's on what we can deliver in this legislative session. I'm not going to set an arbitrary timeline.”

The Fox News host then threw another thought-provoking possibility into the mix by referencing speculation that Sanders might be a top prospect for the vice-presidential spot on a Republican ticket, either with Trump or perhaps even Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Despite Bream's persistence, Sanders stood firm in her unwillingness to engage further on the topic, but whether stronger external political forces will soon come into play that will compel a different response, only time will tell.