Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders of Arkansas, one of the relatively few high-profile Trump administration officials who bolstered their careers through the experience, will step into the national spotlight again on Tuesday night when she delivers the Republican response to President Biden’s State of the Union address.
Ms. Sanders was still editing her address on Tuesday morning, but a spokeswoman said the speech would lean into the contrast in age between Ms. Sanders, who at 40 is the nation’s youngest governor, and Mr. Biden, 80, who in 2021 became the oldest president to be sworn into the office.
Ms. Sanders campaigned last year with the promise of “a new generation of leadership” and referred to a “new generation” six times in her inauguration speech on Jan. 10. Her speech on Tuesday night will return to this theme, as she encourages a younger crop of leaders to fight for conservative ideals, said Alexa Henning, the spokeswoman for the governor. (While some allies of Donald J. Trump, 76, have mentioned Ms. Sanders as a possible running mate for the former president, she has not endorsed anyone in the shadow 2024 Republican primary.)
Ms. Sanders plans to highlight the differences between the two parties by pointing to some of her actions during her short time in office.
On her first day, she signed several executive orders, including one that banned the term “Latinx” from official use in Arkansas government. Another prohibited the use of TikTok on state government devices, and a third required the state to review education policies that eliminate teaching that would, in the order’s words, “indoctrinate students with ideologies” like critical race theory.
Ms. Sanders, the daughter of former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, rose to national prominence during her two years serving as Mr. Trump’s White House press secretary. Survival — more often than success — was the daily goal while working for a president eager to react to cable news headlines and social media posts.
Mr. Trump cycled through seven communications directors and four press secretaries during his four years in office, but Ms. Sanders was often a stabilizing force in the West Wing and became one of his trusted advisers.
She also became a polarizing figure herself. She suspended the White House pass of a CNN reporter, Jim Acosta, who angered the president, though a judge later ordered the pass reinstated. In a separate episode, Robert S. Mueller III wrote in his special counsel report that Ms. Sanders had acknowledged it was untrue when she claimed the White House had heard from “countless” agents who complained about James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director fired by Mr. Trump.
While many of Mr. Trump’s aides were new to government, Ms. Sanders had spent a lifetime in Republican politics.
She was 9 when her father opened his first campaign for public office, and she has talked about helping him stuff envelopes, knock on doors and put up yard signs. She also worked on her father’s next five campaigns, including two successful bids for governor and two presidential campaigns, in 2008 and 2016.
She worked in the Bush administration’s Education Department and had an active role in electing both of Arkansas’s senators. She served as campaign manager, at the age of 27, for John Boozman’s first Senate race in 2010, and was a senior adviser for Tom Cotton’s first Senate contest in 2014.
Ms. Sanders will be the first Arkansas governor to give the high-profile State of the Union response since Bill Clinton in 1985. She is also one of the few people to deliver the address so soon after being sworn into her first elected office.
In 2018, Elizabeth Guzmán, a Virginia state delegate, delivered the Spanish-language response to Mr. Trump’s State of the Union speech just 20 days after she had taken her first oath of office.
The last person to deliver the English-language response to a State of the Union address in the same year as his first inauguration was Senator Jim Webb, a Virginia Democrat, in 2007.