Trump tweeted the announcement, saying that after spending more than three years in his administration, Sanders would be returning “home to the Great State of Arkansas.” He did not name a replacement.
Trump was highly complimentary of Sanders, even suggesting that he wants her to seek office in Arkansas.
"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!"
Trump hailed Sanders as a "warrior" and said he would be going into the "private sector" during a White House event about second chance hiring shortly after his tweet.
"She's a special person. A very, very fine person," he said. "She's strong but with a great, big heart." Sanders joined Trump at the podium and addressed her departure, calling her role in the White House "the honor of a lifetime" and "something I'll treasure forever."
"It's one of the greatest jobs I've ever had. I've loved every minute of it -- even the hard minutes. I've loved it. I love the president. I love the team that I've had the opportunity to work for," she said.
Sanders called being press secretary the "most special experience" aside from being a mother.
"I have three amazing kids and I’m going to spend a little more time with them," she said. "In the meantime, I’m going to continue to be one of the most outspoken and loyal supporters of the president and his agenda. And I know he's going to have an incredible six more years and get a whole lot more done."
Sanders posted a tweet on her departure, as well, reiterating her commentsduring the White House event.
"I am blessed and forever grateful to @realDonald Trump for the opportunity to serve and proud of everything he’s accomplished. I love the President and my job. The most important job I’ll ever have is being a mom to my kids and it’s time for us to go home. Thank you Mr. President!," it read.
Rumors had been swirling in June 2018 that Sanders would leave the White House at the end of that year. At the time, Sanders addressed the reports of her possible departure in a tweet.
"Does @CBSNews know something I don’t about my plans and my future? I was at my daughter’s year-end Kindergarten event and they ran a story about my 'plans to leave the WH' without even talking to me. I love my job and am honored to work for @POTUS," she said.
Sanders joined the Trump administration as White House deputy press secretary in January 2017, working under then-press secretary Sean Spicer. She was promoted to press secretary in July 2017 after Spicer resigned from the position.