By Tyler Clifford
(Reuters) – Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who served as White House press secretary under Donald Trump, will deliver the Republican response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address next week, party leaders announced on Thursday.
Huckabee Sanders, who describes herself as a conservative reformer, will speak from the state capital Little Rock after Biden’s remarks on Tuesday before a joint session of Congress.
It will be Biden’s first State of the Union since Republicans won control of the House of Representatives in November’s election.
Both addresses could serve as a primer for the 2024 presidential campaign season as Democrats and Republicans seek to shape public perceptions in front of a large television audience. The federal debt limit, social spending, the war in Ukraine and policing in minority communities are among the biggest topics driving political discourse.
U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, in a joint announcement, heralded Sanders as a rising figure in the party.
“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,” McConnell said in the statement.
Huckabee Sanders, 40, served as then-President Trump’s second press secretary from mid-2017 to mid-2019. She is the daughter of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, also a Republican.
Elected last year, in January, she became the first woman to lead the state of Arkansas.
(Reporting by Tyler Clifford in New York; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Frances Kerry)