CNN’s Dylan Byers and Jim Acosta report multiple sources inside and close to the White House are closely monitoring the performance of Sarah Huckabee Sanders as she substitutes for Sean Spicer.
According to CNN, one senior White House official said it was an “embarrassment” how the White House press shop handled the news that FBI Director James Comey had been fired by President Donald Trump. Another said it was a “disaster” and said President Trump himself thought it was “handled poorly.”
Sarah Huckabee Sanders currently serves as Principal Deputy White House Press Secretary. She is filling in for Spicer at the daily press briefings all week while he is fulfilling his Navy Reserve duty at the Pentagon.
Sanders served as National Political Director for her father, Mike Huckabee’s 2008 presidential bid. She was a senior advisor in Tim Pawlenty’s 2012 presidential bid. She worked as a senior advisor for the Trump campaign after her father received a single delegate.
Sanders attended Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas (pop. 10,714).
Firing Spicer may be harder for the White House during the duration of his Naval Reserve duty.
While technically Spicer is an at-will employee who can be fired at any time, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA – 38 U.S.C. §§ 4301–4335) is supposed to protect service-members like Naval Reserve Commander Spicer from losing their civilian jobs during Reserve Duty.
“USERRA is intended to minimize the disadvantages to an individual that occur when that person needs to be absent from his or her civilian employment to serve in this country’s uniformed services,” the US Department of Labor explains.
One White House official told CNN that Spicer’s reserve duty “couldn’t have come at a worse time for him.”
The United States Federal Government is tasked with being a “model employer” under USERRA.
Spicer is expected to be back at the White House this evening. As Reservists are on Active Duty, Spicer will be attending the White House while governed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice.