President’s favourite aide returns to help re-election
Hope Hicks, one of Donald Trump’s most trusted and longest-serving aides, is returning to the White House as his re-election campaign moves into high gear. Hicks will be serving as adviser to the president, working with Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
The 31-year-old former model was White House communications director before she departed in October 2018 to become an executive vicepresident and chief communications officer for Fox, the company set up to run Fox News, Fox Sports and Fox’s broadcast networks.
Earlier that year, while the investigation was under way into allegations that Trump’s 2016 election campaign had colluded with Russia to help his cause, Hicks acknowledged to a US congressional committee that she had told “white lies” for Trump.
But she insisted she had not lied about anything relevant to the inquiry, according to those present for her nine-hour, closed-door testimony.
She refused to talk about her time at the White House, only about working for Trump before his election, despite questions about any involvement in drafting of untrue statements about Russian contacts, while consulting the president onboard Air Force One.
Unlike so many former senior members of the Trump administration who have either been fired or otherwise acrimoniously ousted, Hicks not only left with warm tributes from Trump, but now she is coming back.
Throughout Trump’s 2016 campaign and relentlessly chaotic early presidency, she was a constant presence at his side.
When Hicks became White House communications director she worked from a tiny office just outside the Oval Office as a gatekeeper and constant sounding board for the president.
She later became embroiled in another scandal at the White House.
Her judgment was called into question in 2018 over Rob Porter, a senior Trump aide accused of physically abusing two ex-wives – and whom Hicks had reportedly been dating.
Publicly, Trump supported Hicks,
saying: “Hope is absolutely fantastic. She was with the campaign from the beginning, and I could not ask for anything more. Hope is smart, very talented and respected by all.”
But in private, he is believed to have issued rare criticism of a woman who by some estimates was the most influential figure in the administration after Trump and his immediate family.
At issue was whether Hicks, who was also communications director in the campaign, relaxed her judgment owing to her relationship with Porter.
White House officials said Hicks knew that a former girlfriend of Porter’s had informed aides that both of Porter’s ex-wives had said he was violent. Hicks continued to see him and did not tell the president. Porter denied the allegations against him.
Despite these storms, Trump was effusive about Hicks when she left, kissing her cheek outside the Oval Office and wishing her well. Now one of his all-time favourite operatives is back in the inner circle.