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 11:20 PM
Updated: Jun 13, 2019 11:20 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.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 735999

Reported Deaths: 13486
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1007151752
Lake54249977
Allen40946680
St. Joseph36335553
Hamilton35829408
Elkhart28844443
Tippecanoe22475219
Vanderburgh22367397
Porter18946311
Johnson18067381
Hendricks17317315
Clark13036192
Madison12762339
Vigo12501249
LaPorte12086215
Monroe11957172
Delaware10755187
Howard10001218
Kosciusko9466117
Hancock8373142
Bartholomew8098156
Warrick7799155
Floyd7690178
Grant7098174
Wayne7072199
Boone6745101
Morgan6611140
Dubois6166117
Marshall6111112
Cass5876105
Dearborn583178
Henry5785105
Noble565984
Jackson503773
Shelby494396
Lawrence4602120
Gibson437192
Harrison436672
DeKalb430585
Clinton428453
Montgomery425889
Whitley398739
Huntington394480
Steuben391057
Miami383968
Knox372890
Jasper372649
Putnam363760
Wabash355380
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Ripley340770
Jefferson331881
White317754
Daviess298399
Wells292081
Decatur285992
Fayette282162
Greene280585
Posey272034
LaGrange268970
Scott267554
Clay261347
Washington242132
Randolph242081
Spencer232931
Jennings230949
Starke219354
Fountain213946
Sullivan212242
Owen203356
Jay197830
Fulton196040
Carroll190420
Orange184754
Perry184637
Rush174025
Vermillion170044
Franklin168535
Tipton163445
Parke146716
Pike135634
Blackford135132
Pulaski117445
Newton108934
Brown102641
Crawford101415
Benton99014
Martin89515
Warren82615
Switzerland7948
Union71410
Ohio57111
Unassigned0417

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1091623

Reported Deaths: 19528
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1268061406
Cuyahoga1132982134
Hamilton804211211
Montgomery518231015
Summit47606955
Lucas42618792
Butler38548585
Stark32661909
Lorain25199486
Warren24390300
Mahoning21795588
Lake20846371
Clermont19880240
Delaware18608133
Licking16488212
Fairfield16327200
Trumbull16196468
Medina15379266
Greene15143244
Clark14096299
Wood13168189
Portage12966206
Allen11740232
Richland11433199
Miami10713220
Wayne8923214
Columbiana8881229
Muskingum8831133
Pickaway8596121
Marion8561136
Tuscarawas8509245
Erie7958155
Hancock6944128
Ashtabula6904172
Ross6876156
Geauga6741148
Scioto6444102
Belmont5978168
Union575448
Lawrence5590102
Jefferson5583151
Huron5462120
Sandusky5380122
Darke5374126
Seneca5311122
Washington5228109
Athens520858
Auglaize494986
Mercer481585
Shelby470293
Knox4513110
Madison439363
Putnam4301101
Ashland426590
Fulton426469
Defiance424697
Crawford3993107
Brown397557
Logan383276
Preble381398
Clinton374163
Ottawa369081
Highland356862
Williams343475
Champaign335358
Guernsey317653
Jackson314152
Perry295950
Morrow287239
Fayette283550
Hardin271964
Henry270366
Coshocton266157
Holmes2625101
Van Wert244263
Adams240053
Pike238634
Gallia236749
Wyandot232155
Hocking216462
Carroll192448
Paulding174340
Meigs145540
Noble134137
Monroe132542
Harrison109637
Morgan108823
Vinton84915
Unassigned02
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