White House press secretary insists that Hope Hicks' departure is not a 'scandal'

Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesWhite House communications director Hope Hicks.
  • White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that Hope Hicks, the White House communications director who is resigning, thought about her decision “for a while.”
  • Sanders insisted that the development is not a “scandal.”
  • Hicks’ resignation follows her appearance before the House Intelligence Committee this week, during which lawmakers questioned her for more than eight hours.

Following reports of White House communications director Hope Hicks’ resignation, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Wednesday warned reporters not to “make this a scandal.”

“Guys, quit trying to make this a scandal – it’s not,” Sanders said, according to Washington Examiner reporter Gabby Morrongiello.

“Don’t try to read more into it than exists,” Sanders reportedly continued. “This is something [Hicks] has been thinking about for a while, so maybe it’s surprising for you guys but it’s not like it happened overnight.”

Hicks, one of President Donald Trump’s confidantes since the onset of his 2016 US presidential campaign, reportedly told colleagues she had been thinking for several months about when she would leave the administration.

Hicks’s resignation was first reported by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, who also noted that there was no departure date yet.

“There are no words to adequately express my gratitude to President Trump,” Hicks said in a statement. “I wish the President and his administration the very best as he continues to lead our country.”

In his own statement, Trump said of Hicks: “She is as smart and thoughtful as they come, a truly great person,” Trump said in a statement. “I will miss having her by my side but when she approached me about pursuing other opportunities, I totally understood.”

Hicks, a former model, had no previous political experience prior to joining the Trump campaign. The Times reported that Hicks told fellow staffers that she accomplished all she felt she could in the job, where she became one of the most prominent figures in the Trump White House. But her prominence was not met with a large public profile, as Hicks rarely made public comments or spoke on camera.

Allan Smith contributed reporting.

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