In her video, Huckabee Sanders also says that she’s running for governor of Arkansas on a platform that would “prohibit sanctuary cities.” Except the state currently has no so-called “sanctuary cities.” In 2019, Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson actually signed anti-sanctuary city legislation. In fact, when there was apparently some confusion among anti-immigrant residents in the state that the bill was pro-immigrant, Hutchinson went in front of reporters to reiterate that, no, what he just signed was decidedly anti-immigrant.
“I just want to make sure that it is known that when [Senate Bill 411] came to my desk as a prohibition on sanctuary cities in Arkansas, I signed that bill [last April],” Hutchinson said according to Arkansas Democrat Gazette last year. “Act 1076 of 2019 allows the state to withhold funding from any cities that enact written or unwritten ‘sanctuary’ policies,” the report continued. So Huckabee Sanders continues to battle reality, but what else should we expect from someone who admitted to the FBI that she lied to press, then lied about that?
During the Mueller investigation, Huckabee Sanders admitted that she’d lied to the press about James Comey’s firing, calling it a “slip of the tongue.” Uh-huh. But then Huckabee Sanders pulled a full Huckabee Sanders and lied about her lies being called out, my colleague Kerry Eleveld wrote in 2019. “And then she pivots and attacks—attacks Comey, attacks Democrats, attacks the investigation.” And in this case, pivots to attacking immigrants.
“New election cycle, same old xenophobic dog-whistling campaign,” tweeted Zach Mueller of immigrant rights advocacy group America’s Voice. “Lies told for power and profit, lies to divide and distract, lies that will hurt ALL Arkansans. But likely just a foreshadow of a GOP who learns no lessons and takes no responsibility.” He linked to a new report put out by the organization showing how the previous president, Republican candidates, and Republican PACs spent hundreds of millions of dollars in racist and xenophobic ads to try to get elected in 2020.
“In Arizona, Sen. Martha McSally has the dubious title of losing both Republican-held Senate seats in back-to-back elections, a title she earned after voters rejected the anti-immigrant playbooks she employed in both campaign,” the report said. “Running in 2018, McSally made xenophobic dog-whistling a major part of her paid messaging but after a decade-long organizing effort in response to persistent anti-Latino attacks, a majority of Arizona voters rejected these appeals. Nevertheless, McSally tried the exact same message in 2020—and lost again.”
Georgia Republicans Kelly Loeffler and David Purdue also tried similar tactics from the “divide and distract playbook” and also lost, the report continued. Huckabee Sanders is jumping on the anti-immigrant train in her run for office because that’s the Republican playbook, even if it didn’t work out for other major candidates, including her former boss. But the 2020 election made it profoundly clear where the American electorate stands, especially after the last four years: They want immigrant families to stay.