On Thursday, Donald Trump announced on Twitter that “After 3 1/2 years, our wonderful Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be leaving the White House at the end of the month and going home to the Great State of Arkansas.” Unlike some of Trump’s statements, this one at least has a kernel of truth to it. Indeed, soon-to-be former White House Press Secretary Sanders has lasted multiples of Scaramucci. She survived Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen and General John F. Kelly as well as fellow prominent ladies of the administration, such as former Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and Nikki Haley, who served as ambassador to the United Nations.
But like all denizens of Trumpworld (except those who share the president’s last name), she has run her course.
For months, there had been speculation that Sanders would step down. It’s less clear from what, given that she hasn’t stood behind the podium to take questions from the press in over 95 days. The New York Times summed up the job she is set to depart like this: “In Tokyo, she took a sushi-making class. In London, she posted a Buckingham Palace selfie with Louise Linton, the actress who is married to the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin. (In an undocumented interaction, she asked the Prince of Wales to sign her dinner menu. He did.) In Ireland, Ms. Sanders and her husband, Bryan, took a photo with a group of Trump loyalists at the president’s private golf club and visited a local pub.” In other words, she’s spent the past few months like most Trumpian kleptocrats: enjoying the perks of government “work.”
With no actual accomplishments to memorialize in the traditional White House departure post-mortem, Sanders will be remembered first and foremost not for what she did, but for how she did it: With frequent sneers and ceaseless scorn, she was one more woman who helped Trump launder his sexism and racism. Like Ivanka Trump, with her nebulous “women’s empowerment initiative,” or Kellyanne Conway, who claimed that women who oppose Trump “just have a problem with women in power,” Sanders has obfuscated and stalled and deflected, providing effective cover for some of the president’s most misogynistic behavior.
Sanders lied about the president’s hush money payments to adult film actor Stormy Daniels, telling the press that “the president has addressed these directly and made very well clear that none of these allegations are true.” (Reader, it turned out what she meant was all of those allegations were in fact true.)