White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who has steadied the ship since replacing the more combative Sean Spicer early in the Trump administration, is leaving her post at the end of June.
Her boss, President Trump, made the announcement on Thursday afternoon. “After 3 1/2 years, our wonderful Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be leaving the White House at the end of the month and going home to the Great State of Arkansas,” he tweeted. “She is a very special person with extraordinary talents, who has done an incredible job! I hope she decides to run for Governor of Arkansas – she would be fantastic. Sarah, thank you for a job well done!”
Sanders addressed her departure at a White House event. “This has been the honor of a lifetime, the opportunity of a lifetime,” she said. “It’s truly been something I will treasure forever. It’s one of the greatest jobs I could ever have. I have loved every minute, even the hard minutes. … It’s the truly the most special experience. The only one I can think of that might top it just a little bit is the fact that I’m a mom. I have three amazing kids. And I’m going to spend a little more time with them.”
Sanders’ father, Fox News contributor Mike Huckabee, previously served as governor of Arkansas. “Well, @realDonaldTrump is losing @PressSec who is a great one and I say that with as much objectivity as Fake News CNN has toward @POTUS,” he wrote on Twitter.
Her departure has been rumored for more than a year. CBS News reported in June 2018 that she was planning to leave, which she denied at the time.
Many of her deputies, including Raj Shah and Lindsay Walters, have already left the administration. And the White House has been working without a communications director since Bill Shine abruptly announced his departure in March. That position has previously been held by Hope Hicks, Anthony Scaramucci, Spicer and Mike Dubke.
One of Sanders’ legacies will be the disappearance of the daily White House press briefing, which was must-see TV during the Spicer era.
Sanders, who worked on her father’s presidential bid before jumping over to the Trump campaign, is seen as one of the president’s most trusted aides. “By the end she wasn’t really a press secretary,” Axios reporter Jonathan Swann wrote. “She was a top adviser who Trump consulted on just about everything.”
Were she to be interested, Sanders could likely land a position as a paid television analyst.