After three and a half years on the job, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is stepping down from her post as press secretary at the end of the month, according to The New York Times. President Donald Trump made the announcement through his Twitter account. The mother-of-three reportedly hopes to move back to Arkansas amid whispers that she might follow in her father's footsteps and run for governor of the state.
However, this leaves another vacancy for Trump to fill in his administration, and within hours of the announcement, political pundits were already throwing out possible successors for the role.
One of the strongest candidates is former congressman Mick Mulvaney. Mulvaney has worked his way up through the Trump administration, starting as the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau before being promoted to the director of the Office of Management and Budget, and finally as White House chief of staff. Moreover, Mulvaney has experience appearing on the podium -- such as when he defended White House budgets.
Another option is former White House advisor Sebastian Gorka. Gorka, a former editor of Breitbart News, was a vocal supporter of Mr. Trump from his campaign through his presidency. However, the Hungarian native resigned from his post after his mentor, senior advisor Steve Bannon, left the White House.
"[G]iven recent events, it is clear to me that forces that do not support the MAGA promise are – for now – ascendant within the White House," Gorka said of his departure, per The Daily Beast. "As a result, the best and most effective way I can support you, Mr. President, is from outside the People's House."
Many other political pundits believe that the president may turn to Fox News for his press secretary replacement. For example, another contender, whom Bustle reported was "at the top of the administration's unofficial short list" is State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.
Nauert began her career as a reporter for Fox, with a focus on "breaking news, global and domestic crises, and the 2016 presidential primaries and election." She was also rumored to be Trump's original pick for Nikki Haley's replacement as ambassador to the United Nations, via The New York Times. However, the nomination was ultimately awarded to Canadian ambassador Kelly Craft.
The fourth possible contender is another Fox alumna --Kimberly Guilfoyle. The former first lady of San Francisco, who began her career as a prosecutor, used to co-host the opinion news show The Five. She also has a personal connection to the president, as she is currently dating the president's son, Donald Trump Jr.
A fifth option is Tony Sayegh. Sayegh currently serves as the assistant secretary for public affairs for the U.S. Department of the Treasury and has experience working in public affairs and advertising via his former position of executive vice president at Jamestown Associates.
The new appointment will be taking on the job in a time when the office has largely been discarded in favor of Trump's direct communication -- which includes both his Twitter use and frequent briefings with reporters. The new press secretary will also be arriving just in time for the next reelection cycle.In addition to Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Sean Spicer served as Trump's press secretary from January to July 2017.