Sarah Sanders failed in almost every aspect of the job

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President Donald Trump tweeted that press secretary Sarah Sanders will be leaving the White House after more than three years of service.

Posted: Jun 13, 2019 10:20 PM
Updated: Jun 13, 2019 10:20 PM

Sarah Sanders said last December that when her role as White House press secretary ends, she hopes to be remembered as "honest and transparent." I'm afraid she's going to be remembered quite differently because of the actions of her boss, President Donald Trump, and her own failures to live up to the obligations of the office.

With Thursday's announcement that Sanders is leaving the White House at the end of June -- and looking back at the two years that she has spent there -- it's safe to say that her hopes were misplaced.

She has failed in almost every aspect of the job.

Let me use several examples to make that point. One job that the White House press secretary has is to promote the President's agenda and try to put the President in the best possible position to make his case. Just last week, the President did an interview in the American graveyard in Normandy with a highly partisan Fox News anchor. The President proceeded to desecrate the sacred ground by launching partisan attacks at his political opponents in the worst possible setting. Sanders' job was to anticipate what the President would say and make sure situations like this never happened.

The more important job is to keep the American public, the same public who fund her salary, informed through the traditional daily White House Briefing. For more than half a century, reporters, acting as proxy for the American public, would meet with the White House press secretary for a briefing almost every day. That came to a screeching halt under Sanders' watch. In fact, she has not done a briefing in 95 days and has only done eight briefings in the last 300 days. By contrast, in recent history, the most briefings that were ever done in a year were done in 1998, the year Republicans impeached President Bill Clinton, according to an analysis done by the American Presidency Project.

Many of my Democratic friends have argued no briefings are better than briefings where lies are told. I disagree. Briefings, even when the press secretary gives dishonest answers, allow reporters to surface important questions that the public has the right to ask. They also create a public record of the administration's response for historical purpose. That's one of the reasons I've been using Twitter every day to do a "Shadow Briefing," an exercise that highlights the many questions the administration refuses to address.

And, while we are on the question of honesty, this was another important failure of Sanders' tenure. Some of it was beyond her control. President Trump, as of April 26, according to the Washington Post, has made misleading or false statements more than 10,000 times since taking office. But to my memory, I can't point to a single time Sanders acknowledged when the President misspoke.

Her legacy of dishonesty is enshrined in the Mueller Report and is very telling. Many will remember the day she went after Former FBI Director James Comey, saying the White House had heard from many FBI agents who were critical of Comey's leadership. It was only when she was under oath and facing potential jail time did Sanders admit she made the whole story up. To be clear, she smeared a former high-ranking government official with a story that was made up from whole cloth.

But that's not the worst of it. When the Mueller Report was released, and she was no longer under oath, she backtracked on her story, reverting to key parts of the lie she'd already admitted to. That shows she lacked the moral character to be in such an important job in the United States Government.

Finally, Sanders' job inside the White House is supposed to include being an advocate for the press and pushing for maximum transparency.

Here, again, she failed. The normal channels of communication have been shut down. Now, government policy is routinely transmitted through at times incoherent and contradictory tweets. And one news outlet -- Fox News -- has been elevated to a position as partner of the administration, rather than functioning as a traditional newsgathering operation.

Given President Trump's performance with non-Fox anchors -- see Lester Holt and George Stephanopoulos -- it is somewhat understandable that Trump has talked with Fox News more often than with other news organizations. But it's the press secretary's job to make sure that all the media has access to the President, not just the ones who agree with him.

Only time will tell how much lasting damage Sanders has done to the Office of the Press Secretary. As for Ms. Sanders' ultimate legacy, I'll remember her as the press secretary who helped normalize the idea that the press is the enemy of the people. That's not a legacy to be proud of.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 312608

Reported Deaths: 7221
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21429257
Hinds20256414
Harrison17776308
Rankin13539278
Jackson13395246
Madison10051217
Lee9956173
Jones8364163
Forrest7633152
Lauderdale7215240
Lowndes6359144
Lamar620286
Lafayette6162118
Washington5320133
Bolivar4796132
Oktibbeha460398
Panola4545104
Pearl River4495145
Marshall4387103
Warren4368120
Pontotoc419372
Monroe4089133
Union408776
Neshoba4028176
Lincoln3939110
Hancock376686
Leflore3484125
Sunflower335290
Tate331684
Pike3290105
Scott314873
Alcorn310768
Yazoo310269
Itawamba299377
Copiah295865
Coahoma293979
Simpson293788
Tippah287268
Prentiss278560
Marion268680
Leake264973
Wayne262241
Grenada259985
Adams259882
Covington256281
Newton246961
George246748
Winston226981
Tishomingo225067
Jasper220748
Attala214273
Chickasaw207057
Holmes188672
Clay184654
Stone181433
Clarke178179
Tallahatchie177840
Calhoun169532
Yalobusha162936
Smith162034
Walthall133745
Greene130233
Lawrence128223
Noxubee126834
Montgomery126742
Perry126038
Amite123442
Carroll121628
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis106932
Tunica104626
Claiborne102130
Benton99025
Humphreys96133
Kemper95628
Franklin83323
Quitman79616
Choctaw75818
Wilkinson66830
Jefferson65428
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 528784

Reported Deaths: 10913
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson762251516
Mobile40864804
Madison34569501
Tuscaloosa25646451
Montgomery24264585
Shelby23355246
Baldwin20993306
Lee15800168
Calhoun14457312
Morgan14250279
Etowah13796352
Marshall12166222
Houston10506280
Elmore10017205
Limestone9935150
Cullman9617193
St. Clair9584237
Lauderdale9397238
DeKalb8813185
Talladega8183175
Walker7205279
Autauga6910107
Jackson6793110
Blount6621135
Colbert6282134
Coffee5491115
Dale4810111
Russell437938
Chilton4244111
Franklin423882
Covington4105117
Tallapoosa4004150
Escambia392675
Chambers3545123
Dallas3536150
Clarke350360
Marion3092100
Pike309177
Lawrence299698
Winston273572
Bibb259763
Marengo248564
Geneva247075
Pickens233559
Barbour230256
Hale221776
Butler215469
Fayette211962
Henry188544
Cherokee183845
Randolph179241
Monroe176240
Washington166839
Macon158649
Clay153356
Crenshaw151657
Cleburne148341
Lamar141234
Lowndes138453
Wilcox126528
Bullock122941
Conecuh110028
Perry107526
Coosa106828
Sumter104132
Greene92234
Choctaw60324
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