- On Thursday, President Donald Trump announced that press secretary Sarah Sanders would be leaving the Trump administration to return to her home state of Arkansas.
Sanders had been with Trump since his campaign in 2016, and took over from Sean Spicer as press secretary in July 2017.
- Now the White House will begin the hunt for Sanders’ replacement. There are multiple strong contenders within the White House and the administration itself, but Trump could also pull from the conservative media world.
- Contenders for the next press secretary include Melania Trump’s press secretary Stephanie Grisham, current White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley, and former Treasury Department spokesman Tony Sayegh.
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On Thursday, President Donald Trump announced that press secretary Sarah Sanders would be leaving the Trump administration to return to her home state of Arkansas.
Trump added: “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.”
Sanders had been with Trump since his campaign in 2016 and took over from Sean Spicer as White House press secretary in July 2017.
During her controversial tenure in the role, she was criticised by White House reporters for giving infrequent press briefings, and admitted to lying to reporters in press briefings in interviews with special counsel Robert Mueller. Sanders sparred with the media over Trump’s agenda, tweets and the Russia investigation and in some cases it got personal, as when she used a doctored video to accuse a CNN correspondent of placing his hands on an intern during a press conference.
Now, the White House will begin the hunt for Sanders’ replacement. There are multiple strong contenders within the White House and the administration itself, but Trump could also pull from the conservative media world.
It’s also possible that Trump – who relies on social media to get his message across, and so far eschewed formally replacing Bill Shine when he left his post as his communications director – won’t pick a new press secretary at all, and use his Twitter feed and loyal surrogates on cable news as his communications staff.
Here are the candidates who could replace Sanders:
First Lady Melania Trump’s press secretary Stephanie Grisham is a top contender to be the next White House press secretary, according to CBS.
Current White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley is also an obvious contender to temporarily or permanently replace Sanders, CBS reported.
The White House is also reportedly considering Tony Sayegh, who served as the Treasury Department’s spokesman and a top aide to Steve Mnuchin until last month.
Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary Alyssa Farah could also be a strong contender for the position.
Steve Cortes, who formerly chaired the president’s Hispanic Advisory Council and frequently tangles with Trump foes on CNN, is also being considered for the role, according to CBS.
Trump could also appoint his senior counselor Kellyanne Conway — who already takes on an outsize role defending Trump on cable news and sparring with reporters — as his press secretary.
Trump could also look outside of the administration for his next press secretary. One outside option could be Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former Fox and CNN legal analyst who currently advises Trump’s PAC and is dating Donald Trump Jr.
Trump has drawn from Fox News’ bench of anchors, hosts, and contributors for a number of administration posts, and could do the same for press secretary — although some of the higher-profile hosts like Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity would be taking a big pay cut.
He could also tap some other prominent conservative media figures, like The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway, who have also fiercely defended Trump in the public sphere and on Fox News throughout his presidency.
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