Not surprising. In fact, she’s barely disputing the allegation.
Press secretary Sarah Sanders and principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah are both heading for the exits, according to sources inside the White House and close to the administration. Sanders, who has become a confidante of President Trump since the departure of former communications director Hope Hicks, has told friends that she plans to leave the administration at the end of the year…
“There will be even more people leaving the White House sooner rather than later, laid off or just leaving out of exhaustion. And it is going to be harder to find good people to replace them,” a source close to the administration told CBS News. “I do think they’re going to have a harder time getting the second wave of people in than the first, because those people were loyalists, and [new] folks will have to be recruited and encouraged and then survive the vetting process. In addition to all of that, the president prefers to have a small communications staff.”
Sanders tweeted a non-denial denial in response last night:
Does @CBSNews know something I don’t about my plans and my future? I was at my daughter’s year-end Kindergarten event and they ran a story about my “plans to leave the WH” without even talking to me. I love my job and am honored to work for @POTUS
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) June 14, 2018
I’m surprised she’s hoping to stick it out for the rest of 2018. Many White House aides set themselves a benchmark of one year of service before bailing; Sanders’s anniversary as press secretary is coming up on July 21. Any time after that would be fair game for her to pull the ripcord. She’s not the only prominent staffer approaching the one-year mark either: John Kelly, who supposedly just told visiting senators that the White House is a “miserable place to work,” will mark 12 months as chief of staff on July 28. I’m gonna guess that he’s not as determined as Sanders is to try to make it all the way through December. Place your bets now on who the next chief will be — or if there’ll be one at all. Because a permanent vacancy is a distinct possibility.
The real surprise is Shah, though. He’s already sufficiently well trusted by the president to handle the occasional daily briefing in lieu of Sanders. He’d be an obvious shortlister to inherit her position once she’s gone, maybe even the frontrunner. Normally being White House press secretary is a dream job for a PR pro: It means fame, prestige, a book deal, and all sorts of opportunities in media and corporate public relations after leaving. The fact that Shah is looking to quit *knowing* that that opportunity may soon be available is strong corroborating evidence of Kelly’s verdict on what working in the Trump White House is like. Either that or Shah has reason to believe that he won’t be considered for Sanders’s job even if he stays — maybe because of those, er, unfortunate emails about POTUS he sent during the 2016 campaign. Although if that’s the answer, you’re left to wonder why Trump hasn’t fired him already.
If Sanders and Shah both end up bailing, who’s going to staff the White House comms department? Sounds like it’s time for a … job fair. To work in the White House.
“Interested in a job at the White House?” is the subject line of an email that was blasted out widely to Republicans on the Hill late Wednesday advertising the upcoming event.
It promises that “representatives from across the Trump administration will be there to meet job seekers of every experience level.” A person familiar with the planning said that Johnny DeStefano, who oversees the White House personnel department, and Sean Doocey, a deputy assistant to the president for presidential personnel, are expected to be on hand, among other officials from the West Wing.
They should go down to Home Depot, see if they can find some illegals in the parking lot. Or the RNC could hold a contest for staffers. First prize is getting to work for Trump for a year. Second prize is having to work for him for two years.
I don’t know why CBS’s source thinks Trump will have a harder time now filling key positions like press secretary and chief of staff than he did in his first round of hires after the inauguration. It’s the unsexy, non-glamorous deputy positions that’ll be hard to fill: Who wants to work in the middle of a raging political hurricane, tossed around by Trump’s changing political whims, for no glory and little pay? The glamour positions, though, can easily be filled by Trump’s cheering squad in righty media. Kimberly Guilfoyle has been considered before for press secretary; she’ll probably be reconsidered now, or Jeanine Pirro or one of the “Fox & Friends” hosts will. (Fair chance of a Mercedes Schlapp promotion too, of course.) If Trump thought Hannity could do more good for him working inside the White House than pushing talking points to a mass audience outside it, he could probably be persuaded to take a job. Fox and other conservative outlets are farm teams of sorts for POTUS, and unlike the crew of Republican professionals he took on after assuming office, they like and respect him. He’d be much more comfortable surrounded by them. He’ll have no trouble filling the big jobs with cronies. The little jobs that actually make the place run, though? Eh, who needs ’em?