Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 July 2019

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave job at end of month

Ms Sanders says she wants to spend more time with her three children

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders acknowledged in a tweet that she was asked to leave a Virginia restaurant on Friday night. Jacquelyn Martin/ AP Photo
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders acknowledged in a tweet that she was asked to leave a Virginia restaurant on Friday night. Jacquelyn Martin/ AP Photo

Fiercely loyal White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, who became one of US President Donald Trump's closest advisers, will leave her job at the end of the month, Mr Trump said on Thursday.

Ms Sanders, 36, who has worked with Mr Trump since the early days of his run for office, is the latest in a long line of his senior advisers to leave.

She often compared the antics of the press corps to the behaviour of her three youngsters and said she wanted to spend more time with her children at their home in Arkansas.

“She’s a warrior,” said Mr Trump, who announced her departure on Twitter shortly before calling Ms Sanders on stage at an event at the White House.

“We’ve been through a lot together, and she’s tough, but she’s good.”

He did not immediately name a replacement.

Ms Sanders drew criticism for ending the long tradition of daily press briefings, as Mr Trump preferred to take questions himself and command the White House stage. He relegated his staff to appearances on television to defend his policies.

Ms Sanders’s last briefing was 94 days ago. Her relationship with the press became particularly strained a year ago after a comedian hired by the White House Correspondents’ Association for its annual dinner mocked her appearance and penchant for spinning the truth.

“She burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smokey eye,” comedian Michelle Wolf said, as Ms Sanders sat at the head table.

In the months afterward, she was asked to leave a restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, because of her association with the Trump administration.

Ms Sanders became a popular figure at Trump rallies and was sought after for selfies by his supporters.

In November, at his final rallies before the congressional elections, he invited her on stage to speak briefly to the cheering crowds.

Ms Sanders called the job “the honour of a lifetime".

“I’ve loved every minute, even the hard minutes,” she said, her voice trembling with emotion. “I have three amazing kids and I’m going to spend a little more time with them.”

Ms Sanders’ role developed into that of a senior adviser and confidante of the president, and she was regularly brought into senior-level meetings.

Speculation immediately turned to whether Ms Sanders might run for governor of Arkansas, a position once held by her father, Mike Huckabee. She grew up working on his political campaigns.

“If we can get her to run for the Governor of Arkansas, I think she’ll do very well,” Mr Trump said.

Updated: June 14, 2019 03:01 AM

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