Pasadena, Calif. - The White House congratulated Georgia and Alabama for bowl victories that propelled the SEC schools "from two great states, both in the heart of Trump country" to next week’s college football championship game in Atlanta.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders opened her press briefing in Washington with the praise for Alabama and Georgia, who will square off on Monday at the College Football National Championship game in Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
President Donald Trump carried both states in 2016 – Alabama by nearly 30 points and Georgia by about five. But Alabama voters dealt Trump a blow in December by electing Democrat Doug Jones to the U.S. Senate over Republican Roy Moore, who Trump endorsed.
NBC correspondent Peter Alexander noted Moore’s defeat in a follow-up question to Sanders about the game.
“Obviously, Alabama just elected a Democratic senator,” he said. “You said they're right in the heart of Trump country. Does the president see the country as ‘Trump country’ and the rest of the country?”
Sanders, the daughter of the former Arkansas governor and an SEC fan, said she was simply trying to congratulate “two great football teams in the greatest conference in the country.”
As the room erupted into laughter, she added: “Which I'm sure that most of you will all agree, even those that don’t live in one of those lucky states.”
Watch the briefing here: