Former White House press secretary Joe Lockhart said Sunday that President TrumpDonald TrumpCapitol fencing starts coming down after 'Justice for J6' rally Netanyahu suggests Biden fell asleep in meeting with Israeli PM Aides try to keep Biden away from unscripted events or long interviews, book claims MORE is the first U.S. president who is "incapable of telling the truth."
"This has never happened before," Lockhart, who served under former President Clinton, said on CNN's "Reliable Sources." "We’ve had great presidents, we’ve had terrible presidents, Republicans and Democrats, but we’ve never had anything like this — where we have a president who is incapable of telling the truth."
Lockhart cited a recent Washington Post report, which found Trump tells an average of 6.5 to 9 false or misleading claims per day, adding that White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is "aiding and abetting" Trump's falsehoods.
"The job of the press secretary, even with an honest president, is very, very hard because you’re balancing the interests of the president’s political fortunes and the government with the press, and the public’s right to know things," Lockhart continued. "And it is hard. But I think with both [former White House press secretary] Sean SpicerSean Michael SpicerPsaki defends move to oust Trump appointees from military academy boards Defense & National Security: The post-airlift evacuation struggle Conway and Spicer fire back at White House over board resignation requests MORE and Sarah Sanders, they’ve crossed the line here."
"Now, [they think] the facts don’t matter and they reflect the boss, and if the boss lies, 'well then I can lie,' " Lockhart said. "And that’s just a terrible place to be for the country. And it has consequences."
Critics have frequently slammed Sanders for false claims or obfuscating information while at the press briefing room podium.
"We've never had anything like this, where we have a president who is incapable of telling the truth," argues former Clinton WH press secretary Joe Lockhart pic.twitter.com/ji8YrM2RaD— Reliable Sources (@ReliableSources) August 5, 2018
"The White House podium used to be a place that around the world, people could ... take it to the bank — this is our policy, this is what we’re doing," Lockhart said. "Right now, no one knows what the truth is and they could say the sun’s gonna come up in the east tomorrow and there would be speculation that it’s not going to because the lies just get told."
"I think for Sarah Sanders, she’s now gone beyond the point of being just in a tough situation with a hard boss, and she’s now aiding and abetting the process," he added. "The process is designed to undermine the public confidence in the one tool they have to keep the government accountable," he said, referring to the press.
Sanders last week declined multiple times to break with her boss over his insistence that the press is the "enemy of the people."
Spicer, who served a brief stint as White House press secretary, was also roundly criticized for falsehoods he promoted during his tenure, even walking back debunked claims he made concerning the size of crowds at Trump's inauguration.