WASHINGTON — Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary who fiercely defended President Trump through one of the most tumultuous periods in American politics and presided over the end of the daily White House news briefing, will step down at the end of the month.
President Trump announced her departure on Twitter, the means of communication that came to supplant the role that a White House press secretary played in previous administrations, and he expressed hope that she would run for governor in her home state of Arkansas.
….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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2019
Ms. Sanders informed her staff about an hour before the president’s tweets that she would be leaving. No successor was immediately announced, but the next press secretary will take over just as Mr. Trump is heading into the thick of a re-election campaign that will determine the fate of his presidency.
Breaking with decades of tradition, Ms. Sanders effectively killed the daily briefing from the White House lectern that had been one of the visible symbols of multiple presidencies. It has been 94 days since she held a formal briefing. Instead, she left it to Mr. Trump, who prefers to speak for himself and takes questions from reporters on a far more regular basis than most of his recent predecessors.
Ms. Sanders was left to go on Fox News regularly to defend Mr. Trump against his critics, stepping out to the network’s camera outside the West Wing and then occasionally stopping afterward to talk with other reporters on the White House driveway for a few minutes before heading back into the building.