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The promotion for Sanders, who was previously principal deputy press secretary, was announced at the afternoon's press briefing by new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci. Scaramucci himself was offered and accepted his position earlier in the day Friday.
Sanders has regularly conducted briefings during the first six months of President Donald Trump's term, most frequently over the past month as the White House moved the conferences mostly off camera and Spicer faced questions over the possibility of his role changing.
The new press secretary is the daughter of former Arkansas governor and two-time presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and grew up with a fascination for politics.
“I always say that when most kids are 7 or 8 years old out jumping rope, she was sitting at the kitchen table listening to [political commentators] analyze poll results,” her father told Fox News in May.
Sanders has worked a number of political campaigns, including her father’s failed 2008 presidential bid, John Boozman’s Senate bid in her home state of Arkansas in 2010, and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s failed 2012 presidential bid.
She worked for her father’s second presidential bid in the 2016 election before joining Trump’s campaign after her father dropped out. She began working as a senior adviser to the Trump campaign in February 2016 but then joined the campaign’s communications team in September 2016.
Her husband, Republican strategist Bryan Sanders, posted a selfie of him and his wife at the inauguration, writing that he was proud of his "amazing wife."
The couple married in 2010 and have three children, including one to whom she gave a special shout-out at a press briefing.
“In addition to all of the big news happening at the White House today, it is also my daughter Scarlet’s fifth birthday. And since I'm here and you guys are, I get to wish Scarlet a happy birthday. And with that, I think her first birthday wish would probably be that you guys are incredibly nice,” she said at the May 10 briefing.
Sanders started playing a more public role in May when Spicer was fulfilling his naval reserve duties. She has since been giving the majority of the recent daily briefings, and there has been a shift from having those conducted in front of live TV cameras; they are now mostly required to only be audio recorded and not played live.
For her part, she is reportedly getting rave reviews from the president.
“The president loves Sarah. He thinks she's doing a phenomenal job and I agree with him,” Scaramucci said at today’s briefing.