Sarah Huckabee Sanders to deliver GOP’s State of the Union response

(WASHINGTON) — Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders will deliver the Republican response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address next Tuesday, Feb. 7, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced on Thursday via Twitter.

Sanders, 40, became the first woman elected to serve as Arkansas’ governor in November and is currently the youngest governor in the country. She is also the first daughter to become a state’s governor after her father, Mike Huckabee, held the same position from 1996 to 2007.

“I am grateful for this opportunity to address the nation and contrast the GOP’s optimistic vision for the future against the failures of President Biden and the Democrats,” Sanders said in a release with Republican congressional leaders. “We are ready to begin a new chapter in the story of America – to be written by a new generation of leaders ready to defend our freedom against the radical left and expand access to quality education, jobs, and opportunity for all.”

Sanders is expected to deliver the response from Little Rock, while McCarthy will sit behind the president for the first time.

“She is bringing new ideas for a changing future, while also applying the wisdom of the past, including from the leadership of her father, Mike,” McCarthy said in the release. “She is a servant-leader of true determination and conviction. I’m thrilled Sarah will share her extraordinary story and bold vision for a better America on Tuesday. Everyone, including President Biden, should listen carefully.”

In her first week of office, Sanders signed executive orders banning critical race theory in schools and the term “Latinx” in government documents.

“While President Biden keeps repeating old mistakes and failing Americans, a rising generation of Republican Governors are fighting for families, advancing new solutions, and winning,” echoed Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. “Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders is the youngest Governor in the nation and a powerful advocate for the popular, commonsense conservative principles that will put our country back on a better course.”

Sanders was former President Donald Trump’s longest-serving White House press secretary from 2017 to 2019 and has remained a Trump loyalist since leaving his administration. It’s rumored Trump could be eyeing Sanders for a vice presidential pick, though she’s said she intends to serve as governor of Arkansas for eight years.

Sanders tenure in the White House saw a combative relationship with the press as she frequently spread disinformation to defend the Trump administration. She admitted to federal investigators in the Mueller special counsel investigation that she had made false statements to the public as press secretary, calling it a “‘slip of the tongue,’” according to the Mueller report.

When Biden, 80, enters the House next week to address the joint session of Congress, it will be his first time since Republicans took control of the chamber.

McCarthy said Thursday to open his weekly press conference that he was “excited” to have Sanders deliver the response, as well as freshman Rep. Juan Ciscomani, R-Ariz., to deliver the response for the GOP in Spanish.

He called Ciscomani’s story, “just a real, true American story, as well.”

ABC News’ Allison Pecorin contributed to this report.

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