By Chris Sommerfeldt
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the hyper-loyal mouthpiece for President Trump and his scandal-scarred administration, said Thursday she's leaving the White House at the end of this month -- and her soon-to-be ex-boss sent her off with a plea to run for governor of Arkansas.
The reclusive press secretary -- who has not held a formal briefing with reporters in a record 94 days amid mounting calls for Trump's impeachment -- grew emotional as she called it an "honor of a lifetime" to work for this president.
"I couldn't have been prouder," Sanders said during an unrelated event at the White House, adding she plans to continue to be one of the most "outspoken and loyal supporters of the president" in private life.
Trump praised Sanders as a "very, very fine woman."
"She's strong but with such heart," the president said. "She's a warrior...We're all warriors. We have no choice."
The president revealed he has been pushing Sanders to run for Arkansas governor, an office that used to be held by her father, Mike Huckabee.
"I'm trying to get her to do that," Trump said.
Sanders' father said Trump is losing a "great one" in his daughter before taking a predictable shot at the media.
"I say that with as much objectivity as Fake News CNN has toward POTUS," Mike Huckabee tweeted.
Sanders has been working with Trump since the 2016 campaign and was tapped as his second press secretary after Sean Spicer resigned in July 2017.
The 36-year-old Trump spokeswoman leaves behind a White House tenure tarnished by concerns over her credibility.
She has made countless misleading claims from the White House press room lectern, including insisting Trump has never encouraged violence in any "way, form or fashion." In fact, Trump has a history of calling on his supporters to beat up protesters at political rallies, including once explicitly urging them to "knock the crap out of them."
Special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia report revealed Sanders admitted that she lied when she told reporters that "countless" FBI agents had reached out to express support for Trump's decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey in May 2017.
Sanders's departure comes at a perilous time for Trump.
A growing number of House Democrats -- and a lone Republican congressman -- are openly calling for Trump to be impeached in response to Mueller's refusal to exonerate the president of obstruction of justice.
Several Democratically-controlled House committees, meanwhile, continue to investigate Trump and his administration for various misdeeds and alleged wrongdoing.
Trump hinted at the rough-and-tumble nature of Sanders' time in the administration during his remarks at the White House.
"We've been through a lot together," Trump said. "She's tough and she's good."
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