White House press secretary Sarah Sanders talks with reporters outside the White House, Thursday, April 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Sarah Sanders leaving White House job; governor run ahead?

U.S. President Donald Trump described Sanders as a ‘warrior’

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, whose tenure was marked by a breakdown in regular press briefings and questions about the administration’s credibility, as well as her own, will leave her post at the end of the month, President Donald Trump announced Thursday.

Trump said he’s encouraging her to run for governor when she returns home to Arkansas, where her father once held the governor’s seat.

Sanders is one of Trump’s closest and most trusted White House aides and one of the few remaining who worked on his campaign, taking on the job of advocating for and defending a president who had his own unconventional ideas about how to conduct the people’s business.

At an unrelated White House event, Trump described Sanders as a “warrior” as he called her to the stage. Sanders, appearing emotional, said serving Trump has been “the honour of a lifetime” and pledged to remain one of his “most outspoken and loyal supporters.”

Sanders, who is married and has three young children, later told reporters she wanted to spend more time with her family, but did not rule out running for public office.

“I learned a long time ago never to rule anything out,” said Sanders, 36. She was the first working mother and just the third woman to be named White House press secretary.

Under her roughly two-year tenure as chief spokeswoman for the White House, daily televised briefings led by the press secretary became a relic of the past after Sanders repeatedly sparred with reporters who aggressively questioned her about administration policy, the investigation into possible co-ordination between Trump’s campaign and Russia or any number of controversies involving the White House.

ALSO READ: Former Trump press secretary Sean Spicer developing TV show

Sanders has not held a formal briefing since March 11 — more than three months ago — and said she does not regret the decision to scale them back. Instead, reporters were left to catch her and other administration officials on the White House driveway after their interviews with Fox News Channel and other networks.

Trump also has made it a habit to regularly answer reporters’ questions in a variety of settings, most notably on the South Lawn before boarding the Marine One helicopter. Sanders often sought to justify the lack of formal briefings by saying they were unnecessary when journalists could hear from Trump directly.

Her credibility has also come under question since she succeeded Sean Spicer, Trump’s first press secretary, in mid-2017.

The Russia report released by special counsel Robert Mueller in April revealed that Sanders admitted to investigators that she had made an unfounded claim about “countless” FBI agents reaching out to express support for Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey in May 2017.

Sanders characterized the comment as a “slip of the tongue” uttered in the “heat of the moment.”

She faced similar questions last year after Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s personal attorneys, surprised the White House by saying on national TV that Trump had reimbursed his then-fixer Michael Cohen for the $130,000 Cohen had paid porn actress Stormy Daniels to keep quiet during the campaign about an alleged past sexual encounter with Trump. Trump has denied Daniels’ claim.

The White House had failed to disclose the reimbursement. Sanders said she didn’t know anything about the repayment until Giuliani disclosed it.

Sanders told reporters Thursday that she had informed Trump earlier in the day of her decision to step down. Her staff learned the news shortly before Trump tweeted, “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 added that “she would be fantastic” as Arkansas governor. Sanders said she’s had people “begging” her to run for governor for more than a year.

Her father is former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a two-time GOP presidential candidate. She managed his second White House bid.

Asa Hutchinson, the current governor of Arkansas, was re-elected in 2018 and is limited to two terms.

Sanders said she hasn’t discussed possible replacements with Trump. She said she saw no reason to delay informing the president once she had made her decision, saying her departure should give Trump time to put someone else in place before the 2020 presidential campaign heats up.

Darlene Superville, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Teens charged in stabbing death of South Surrey man in strip mall parking lot

Two youths, aged 15 and 16, charged in Aug. 16 killing of Paul Prestbakmo

Council to look into Cloverdale arena project

Plans could include twinning existing rink

UPDATE: Two North Delta schools briefly in ‘hold and secure’ after report of weapon

Seaquam Secondary and Cougar Canyon Elementary were in ‘hold and secure’ for about 45 minutes

Surrey family donates $125K to hospital’s children’s centre, with a 55-day fundraising campaign

Bob Hans says the initiative is meant to coincide with the 550th birthday celebrations of Guru Nanak

WestCoast Big Band Festival on the move from Surrey to Vancouver

‘It’s time for our festival to go to the next level,’ organizer says of mid-November event

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

VIDEO: B.C. man accused of assaulting sex worker loses temper in interrogation

Defence lawyer says statements made by accused Curtis Sagmoen should be deemed inadmissible

Nanaimo beekeepers take down nest of invasive giant hornets

One nest eradicated at Nanaimo’s Robins Park, but there are still Asian giant hornets around

John Horgan promises action after fatal mid-Island bus crash

Premier cites students, local Indigneous community as reason to repair the road

Police warn of escalating violence, weapons in Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park

Officers issue statement about high crime in the area that includes a homeless camp

B.C. Premier John Horgan worried about ‘rise of racism’

Asked to comment on Justin Trudeau’s ‘blackface’ incidents

Human case of West Nile virus reported on Vancouver Island

B.C. Centre for Disease Control confirmed case reported in August

Forestry watchdog warned B.C. government about Bamfield Road in 2008

Ombusman’s specific concerns re-surface in wake of bus crash that killed two students

Photos surface of Conservative candidate at B.C. event with people in blackface

The controversial “Black Peter” character has been a feature at Sinterklaas celebrations

Most Read