President Trump announced on Thursday that Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will leave the White House at the end of the month. Sanders has been in the Trump administration since the beginning, joining the White House in January 2017 as deputy press secretary and ascending to her current position seven months later.
"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," Trump 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!"
Soon thereafter, CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins said on Twitter that she's been told Sanders is considering a run for the Arkansas governorship, the office her father Mike held between 1996 and 2007. Bustle has reached out to Sanders and the White House for comment on this.
Sanders is the second press secretary to serve under Trump. She replaced former RNC communications chief Sean Spicer, whose turbulent and agitated press briefings inspired jokes on Saturday Night Live. Sanders, by contrast, has adopted a calmer and more low-key demeanor during her time as press secretary. This earned her some recognition in the press, with Politico's Jason Schwartz arguing that Sanders' ability to "deaden a room" makes her "very, very good" at her job.
"Amid a constant drumbeat of surprise and scandal, [Sanders] is there to beat back the press and squelch its enthusiasm," Schwartz wrote in 2018. "The moment Sanders unleashes her trademark monotone, the energy drains."
Sanders also drew criticism for lying to reporters and spreading falsehoods from behind the podium. In 2017, she wrongly claimed that Trump "in no way, form, or fashion has ever promoted or encouraged violence," when in actuality, Trump has instructed his crowds to physically assault protesters, and at one point promised to pay the legal fees of anyone who did. After three protesters accused Trump of inciting violence at a March 2016 rally, his lawyers said that wasn't his intention and that his words were protected by the First Amendment, ABC reported.
The next year, Sanders incorrectly asserted that Barack Obama "only created 195,000 jobs for African-Americans" during his time in office. In reality, black employment rose by around three million during Obama's two terms as president. Most recently, Sanders claimed that census questions about citizenship have "been included in every census since 1965, with the exception of 2010." In truth, there was no census in 1965, and a citizenship question hasn't been included on a census since 1950, according to Newsweek.
Nevertheless, Sanders defended herself against these criticisms, telling reporters in early June that "my credibility is probably higher than the media's" and claiming that "you all know I'm an honest person."
Sanders' press briefings gradually became less frequent during her time as press secretary; while it's common for White House press secretaries to give daily briefings to the media, Sanders hasn't given one since March, BuzzFeed News reports.
In a tweet Thursday, Sanders expressed gratitude to Trump for making her press secretary.
"I am blessed and forever grateful to @realDonaldTrump for the opportunity to serve and proud of everything he’s accomplished," Sanders tweeted. "I love the President and my job. The most important job I’ll ever have is being a mom to my kids and it’s time for us to go home. Thank you Mr. President!"