After officially becoming the press secretary of the White House since the beginning of August of 2017, US president Donald Trump has announced over Twitter that Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be leaving her position at the end of June.
It is unclear who will be taking Sanders place as Trump has not yet announced who will be filling the spot of press secretary, nor has there been a clear announcement as to why Sanders is leaving the White House.
Sanders first began doing press briefings in May of 2017, filling in for then press secretary Sean Spicer, who eventually quit his position when Anthony Scaramucci was hired on at the White House as communications director. Scaramucci conducted press briefings for two weeks before he too was fired and Sanders took his place.
While she was press secretary, Sanders held press briefings with increasing irregularity, as the last press briefing held was over 90 days ago, and the podium used has started to gather dust. Instead of press briefings, Trump, and occasionally Sanders, would answer questions by the press outside the White House in front of a gaggle of cameras, rather than in the designated press briefing room that the usual press conferences are held in.
During her time as press secretary, Sanders would speak on behalf of Trump, repeating what the administration’s position was on a particular issue and some background on why that was the case. Other times however, Sanders appeared to present false or misleading claims that would either not get addressed or be retracted at a later date whilst not in front of cameras. One such incident was featured in the Mueller report, wherein Sanders said, following Trump’s firing of then FBI director James Comey, that many in the FBI had lost the confidence of Comey and were pleased that Trump had fired him. This was in fact not true, and, as the report states, “The President told Comey at their January 27 dinner that “the people of the FBI really like [him],” no evidence suggests that the President heard otherwise before deciding to terminate Comey, and Sanders acknowledged to investigators that her comments were not founded on anything.”
Another instances of manipulation surfaced when, in trying to justify revoking CNN’s Jim Acosta’s access to press briefings, Sanders shared a doctored video appearing to make Acosta appear more aggressive than he actually was. Along with this are many other times that Sanders espoused the Trump administrations position which relied on lying about certain facts in order to reach their desired conclusion, while doing little to dissuade Trump’s accusations that the press are the “enemy of the people.”