Outgoing White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders redefined the role of her position by refusing to hold daily briefings and brazenly lying to protect President Donald Trump.
She was even cited in the Mueller report for admitting under oath that she had lied from the podium.
While fifty people attended the soiree at Rare Steakhouse, few wanted to be identified as attending.
“The tango between the press and politicians in the capital is always complex, but that relationship borders on toxic in the Trump era. Even for clubby Washington, it could be a bad look to clink glasses for a woman who rode shotgun for a president who refers to the media with a Stalinist epithet,” The New York Times reported.
“You’d better not say I was here,” one reporter told The Times.
“Me either,” added another.
Even Fox News, which is often derided as essentially state media during the Trump administration, was worried about the optics.
“I need to clear any comments with my media relations team,” said the network’s John Roberts.
One reporter even denied that the going away party was a party.
“It’s not a party,” the correspondent told Columbia Journalism Review.
“Everybody has their issue with Sarah Sanders, but if you can’t have a drink with somebody, then all of civilization has broken down,” an unnamed White House correspondent told CJR.