WASHINGTON - White House press secretary Sarah Sanders is leaving the White House, marking another high-level departure of one of the few remaining Trump aides. 

 

President Trump announced in a tweet that Sanders will be exiting the administration at the end of the month, and encouraged her to run for governor in Arkansas. 

"After 3 1/2 years, our wonderful Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be leaving the White House at the end of the month and going home to the Great State of Arkansas," the president wrote. "She is a very special person with extraordinary talents, who has done an incredible job! I hope she decides to run for Governor of Arkansas - she would be fantastic. Sarah, thank you for a job well done!"

Mr. Trump again encouraged Sanders to run for governor in a prison reform event in the White House East Room Thursday afternoon: "I'm trying to get her to do that," Mr. Trump said. 

Sanders called the opportunity to serve the president and the country the "opportunity of a lifetime." 

"I'll try not to get emotional because I know that crying cane make us look weak sometimes right This has been the honor of a lifetime, the opportunity of a lifetime," she said, standing on stage next to the president. 

Sanders has served in the White House since the beginning of Mr. Trump's presidency, taking over for Sean Spicer when he left that role. CBS News reported exactly a year ago that Sanders had been telling friends she intended to leave the administration at the end of the year, but that timeline was drawn out. 

White House press briefings became less and less frequent under Sanders. The last White House briefing was more than 90 days ago.

It's unclear if briefings would become more frequent with anyone who might replace her — and it's unclear who might replace her. 

The job of White House press secretary is challenging under any presidency — but arguably, particularly under Mr. Trump, who oftentimes contradicts his own staff on Twitter or in gaggles with reporters. 

Sarah Huckabee Sanders
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders calls on a member of the media during the daily press briefing at the White House, Wednesday, July 18, 2018, in Washington.AP

 

Raj Shah, the former principal deputy press secretary who worked with Sanders, said she did an "incredible" job. 

"She did an incredible job defending the president with an often hostile press corps. And everybody who worked with her found her to be incredibly humble and she was an incredible friend, and mentor to me. She was the best boss I ever had," Shah said. 

— CBS News' Fin Gomez contributed to this report.