White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders fought tears after a teenager questioned her about school shootings. Picture: Vox
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders fought tears after a teenager questioned her about school shootings. Picture: Vox

Question that brought Sanders to tears

LOVE her or loathe her, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is known for keeping her cool while copping a grilling from the world's toughest journalists.

But this week, a powerful question from a 13-year-old finally broke her.

During Ms Sanders' regular press briefing, she took a question from teenage student and budding reporter Benje Choucroun, who was covering the event for Time for Kids.

The Californian student took the opportunity to question Ms Sanders about America's appalling gun violence track record.

"At my school, we recently had a lockdown drill," the boy began. "One thing that affects mine and other students' mental health is the worry about the fact that we or our friends could get shot at school.

"Specifically, can you tell me what the administration has done and will do to prevent these senseless tragedies?"

The mother-of-three was visibly rattled by the question.


In a video recording of the briefing, Ms Sanders is seen choking back tears with a shaking voice as she attempted to answer the question.


"I think that as a kid, and certainly as a parent, there is nothing that could be more terrifying for a kid to go to school and not feel safe. So I'm sorry that you feel that way," she replied.

"This administration takes it seriously. And the School Safety Commission that the President convened is meeting this week, again, an official meeting to discuss the best ways forward and how we can do every single thing within our power to protect kids in our schools and to make them feel safe and make their parents feel good about dropping them off."

Time editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal took to Twitter to praise his young reporter, posting that he was proud the magazine "has a deep bench".


But while the Marin Country Day School student was showered with praise by other Twitter users, many accused Ms Sanders of using "crocodile tears" to evade the question.

"So she does have a heart … wow …" one person posted, while another added: "Amazing what they've done to make the robot tears look realistic".



It has been a horror year for gun violence in the US, with more than 100 mass shootings taking place in the troubled country this year alone, according to the non-profit Gun Violence Archive.

And according to CNN, there has been more than one school shooting per week on average in 2018.

Earlier this month, two teachers and eight students were killed when 17-year-old gunman Dimitrios Pagourtzis opened fire at Santa Fe High School in Texas.

And on Valentine's Day, 17 students and teachers were killed and a further 17 were wounded following a massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Many teenage survivors of that attack spoke out publicly on the need for stricter gun control, making household names of activists including David Hogg and Emma González and inspiring nationwide protests.