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Four candidates at top of Trump's list to replace Sarah Sanders: source

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump has four leading candidates under consideration to replace outgoing White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, a Trump confidant said on Friday.

The four are deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley, Stephanie Grisham, who is first lady Melania Trump’s communications director, former State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert and outgoing Treasury Department spokesman Tony Sayegh, the source said on condition of anonymity.

The White House declined to comment.

Sanders said on Thursday she was stepping down at the end of the month as Trump’s press secretary after about two years in the job. She plans to return to her home state of Arkansas and contemplate a run for governor there in 2022.

Gidley, a long-time Republican operative, is Sanders’ principal deputy. Grisham has been working for Trump since the early days of his 2016 presidential campaign.

Nauert has been talked about in the past as a candidate for the press secretary position. She had been a potential pick for the position of U.S. ambassador to the United Nations when Nikki Haley stepped down, but withdrew from consideration.

Sayegh has been the well-regarded spokesman for Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and has been talked about in the past for a White House communications position.

Trump, in an interview on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends,” said a lot of people want the job.

“Sometimes you have so many that it makes it more difficult. But we have some great - But Sarah was fantastic, and she is fantastic. She’s going to have a tremendous future ... She has been a warrior, in a sense,” he said.

He said Grisham in particular is terrific.

“We have a lot of great people,” he said.

Reporting by Steve Holland; additional reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Paul Simao