You’ll be forgiven if the first thought that crossed your mind at the news that Sarah Huckabee Sanders is quitting as President Trump’s press secretary was, “Oh, does she still work there?”
You’ll also be forgiven if the second thought was, good riddance.
Which, of course, is just what her boss wanted her to do.
Sanders stopped giving press briefings — near-daily events in previous administrations — three months ago, which is why it felt as though she might have slipped out of the White House by a side exit.
I'm not going to believe that Sarah Huckabee Sanders is leaving as White House press secretary until she denies it herself.— James Poniewozik (@poniewozik) June 13, 2019
And yes, press secretaries are expected to offer their bosses a certain amount of spin to persuade the masses that Topic A should be viewed through the president’s prism.
But blatant lying crossed a line that is dangerous for a democracy, as we’re seeing. We as a nation have absolutely no reason to give credence to any pronouncement that comes out of this White House, because Trump, Spicer, Sanders, Kelly Ann “alternative facts” Conway and other top aides have trained us to doubt almost every assertion coming out of their mouths.
When a nation can’t trust the word of its president or his aides, then the nation can’t trust its government.
Which in the case of Trump and his supporters, this may just be a self-fulfilling prophecy. He was the anti-government candidate, and now he runs it as though he’s trying to dismantle it from within, beginning with destroying its fundamental credibility.
Trump said nice thing about Sanders on Thursday, describing her as “tough, and she’s good.” You can’t argue on the toughness part, because she has proved to be just that. But “good” is a more subjective thing. If by “good’ Trump means she lied openly and wantonly just as he wanted, well, then, he would see her legacy as “good.”