During a briefing to update the public and the press about the successes of his administration’s First Step Act, President Donald Trump announced that White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders would be leaving public service.
The announcement came as a surprise to many as Sanders has been a very loyal supporter to President Trump and one of the longest serving officials in his administration.
“And I thought maybe I’d just take a moment. So, at the White House and been with me now three and a half years before I won, before the election, is a person, a friend, a woman, a great, great magnificent person actually, named Sarah Huckabee Sanders,” began the president.
The president commended the quality of her work as Sanders worked in a challenging press environment.
“And she’s done an incredible job. We’ve been through a lot together and she’s tough but she’s good. You know, you also have tough and bad, right? She’s tough and she’s good. She’s great. And she’s going to be leaving the service of her country and she’s going to be going, I guess you could say private sector,” said the president.
The president complimented Sanders’s character and strength as he thanked her .
“She is a special person, a very, very fine woman. She has been so great, she has such heart. She’s strong but with great, great heart and I want to thank you for an outstanding job. And thank you.”
Sanders succeeded Sean Spicer as press secretary in 2017 and through her entire tenure has faced an exceedingly aggressive press, which in multiple studies has been shown to present over 90 percent negative coverage of President Trump. However, Sanders expressed gratitude for the position she has held.
“This has been the honor of a lifetime, the opportunity of a lifetime. I couldn’t be prouder to have had the opportunity to serve my country and particularly to work for this president. He has accomplished so much in these two and a half years and it’s truly been something I will treasure forever.”
During her time as White House press secretary, Sanders faced what was at times an openly hostile press and personally received extensive negative coverage in the media. After continual aggression, over time the frequency of White House press briefings decreased significantly.
In June 2018 the owner of the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, told Sanders to leave the restaurant because she worked for President Trump. Sanders left without incident.
Despite the challenges she’s faced, Sanders said she cherishes the experience.
“It’s one of the greatest jobs I could ever have.” said Sanders. “I’ve loved every minute, even the hard minutes, I have loved it. I love the president. I love the team that I’ve had the opportunity to work for. The president is surrounded by some of the most incredible and most talented people you could ever imagine. And it’s truly the most special experience.”