Politics

White House press secretary says Jemele Hill’s comments are a ‘fireable offense’

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders spoke Wednesday.
Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders spoke Wednesday.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday that she thinks Jemele Hill’s criticism of President Trump on Twitter this week is a “fireable offense.”

Sanders called out Hill during a White House press briefing with reporters after being asked if the president was aware of the tweets and had any reaction.

“I’m not sure if he’s aware, but I think that’s one of the more outrageous comments that anyone could make, and certainly something that I think is a fireable offense by ESPN,” Sanders said.

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Hill, an anchor for ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” called Trump a white supremacist and a bigot during a back and forth with her Twitter followers on Monday.

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Sanders defended Trump’s relationship with African-Americans, many of whom have been critical of the president in the wake of his comments claiming the recent Charlottesville violence was caused by both white supremacists and those protesting them.

“I know that the president has met again with people like Senator Scott who are highly respected leaders in the African American community,” Sanders said. “I think that’s where we need to be focused, not on outrageous statements like this one.”

ESPN released a statement on Tuesday distancing itself from Hill’s comments, saying they don’t reflect the network’s views. But the network didn’t indicate whether Hill would face punishment for the tweets.

Amid the backlash, Hill has also received support from a number of athletes, including Reggie Miller, Dwayne Wade, and Colin Kaepernick.

Christina Prignano can be reached at christina.prignano@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @cprignano.