A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.
The White House press secretary is supposed to be the No. 1 liaison between the president and the press corps. Sarah Sanders diminished the job. When she leaves the W.H. later this month, few reporters will be sorry to see her go. So… will Trump even fill the job now?
I asked one of the most plugged-in W.H. correspondents I know… And they said: “Truly it’s anyone’s guess. So says the White House. There’s certainly speculation they could promote from within — Hogan Gidley was once seen as a dark horse, but in recent months, officials have contemplated seeing him in that role. But it’s Trump… and of course he could always pick someone from the outside. That’s my bet.”
But who on the outside would want the job at this moment in time? Wait – I take that back – on Fox News Thursday night, Laura Ingraham joked with Sean Hannity about tag-teaming the briefings for a week. “That’d be fun,” said Ingraham, who was mentioned as a press secretary candidate in the past. Hannity cracked up laughing.
The correspondent added: “A good point many have been making today is: Why pick anyone? What difference does it make?”
Sander’s main legacy as press secretary will be the death of the daily press briefing. On her watch, we saw the end of a custom that had provided a level of government transparency and accountability for decades.
In her nearly two years in the job, Sanders first shortened the on-camera briefings and then did away with them altogether. Her most recent appearance in the briefing room was back on March 11 — and that session was only 14 minutes long. Friday will be day 95 without a briefing. On Thursday, she said she doesn’t regret the lack of briefings. This is the first time I actually hope she is lying.
Fox’s Neil Cavuto, among others, questioned the “odd” timing of the announcement and asked if Trump was “pointing the finger” at her for the ABC interview mess. But a WH official told Jim Acosta “she’d chosen this date well in advance.” And Trump gave her a hero’s farewell on Thursday…
Sanders had no credibility left. None. I mean, according to the Mueller report, she admitted under oath that she lied to the press corps about James Comey. Still, I’m not sensing a lot of confidence that the man or woman who takes her place will be candid and truthful. The “enemy” tone comes from the top…
Trump’s 8 a.m. appointment
Two days after the ABC interview, Trump will be back on Fox on Friday: He has an 8 a.m. phone call scheduled with the “Fox & Friends” cast…