CBS News broke a story Wednesday by citing multiple White House sources who indicate both press secretary Sarah Sanders and deputy press secretary Raj Shah are planning their resignations from the high-profile positions.
In an administration marked by high staff turnover, the White House communications department has often been at the center of that discussion.
Complaints about leaks to the media and other internal disagreements have led to either the resignation or termination of multiple senior officials thus far in the President Donald Trump’s first term.
According to the sources quoted by CBS, the upheaval within the White House communications department could become more pronounced with the exits of Sanders and Shah.
Sanders has reportedly told those close to her that she expects to leave the White House by the end of this year. While sources say Shah is also planning his exit, but has not established a timeline.
Though neither White House spokesperson commented on the record in response to the CBS report, Sanders dismissed the credibility of the sources in a tweet insisting she is currently happy in her position.
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
— Stephanie Grisham (@PressSec) June 14, 2018
“Does @CBSNews know something I don’t about my plans and my future?” Sanders wrote shortly after the story was published.
She wrote she was at a school event with her daughter when she heard the reports, confirming she did not speak to the outlet before the story ran.
“I love my job and am honored to work for @POTUS,” she wrote.
CBS addressed the dispute on air Thursday morning, standing by its initial report and addressing Sanders’ tweet directly.
“CBS reached out to Sanders and Shah before publishing its report,” said “CBS This Morning” host John Dickerson. “Both declined to comment.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is disputing a CBS report that she has told friends she’s planning on leaving the administration at the end of the year https://t.co/w9ZnCu0ZO3 pic.twitter.com/vEGGAU1qx7
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 14, 2018
Both Sanders and Shah become recognizable administration mouthpieces in recent months and some sources close to the White House believe these and other senior staff vacancies could be difficult to weather.
“There will be even more people leaving the White House sooner rather than later, laid off or just leaving out of exhaustion,” one source said. “And it is going to be harder to find good people to replace them.”
The Trump administration insider predicted that the administration will “have a harder time getting the second wave of people in than the first.”
An initial White House roster consisted of “loyalists,” the source said, adding that their replacements “will have to be recruited and encouraged and then survive the vetting process.”
The same source claimed that some of the vacancies on the team are by design because “the president prefers to have a small communications staff.”
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