Inside the strange relationship between Trump and Hope Hicks, his right-hand woman and the youngest White House communications director in history

  • The relationship between President Donald Trump and Hope Hicks, the White House communications director, is being scrutinised more closely than ever.
  • Hicks is reportedly a key focus in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
  • Critics have also accused her of enabling Trump’s worst instincts.

Few figures within President Donald Trump’s administration have prompted as much interest and speculation as Hope Hicks, the mysterious communications director who had no political experience before she joined the Trump campaign. In no time, however, Hicks rose to the top echelons of the White House.

Her close-knit relationship with Trump has been thrust into a new light in recent weeks, as the 29-year-old Hicks has reportedly emerged as a focal point in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and potential collusion with the Trump campaign.

Hicks has also found herself at the center of a scandal over Rob Porter, the staff secretary who resigned on Wednesday after reports that he abused his two ex-wives. Hicks and Porter were romantically involved, and she reportedly helped draft a statement defending him after the allegations first went public.

Hicks has also come under increasing criticism by those inside and outside President Donald Trump’s inner circle, who say she treats Trump in a way that enables his most impulsive behaviour.

Here’s what you need to know about the unusual relationship between Trump and his right-hand woman:

Hicks’ working relationship with Trump began to take off in January 2015, when she was still working with his daughter Ivanka Trump and doing communications work for the Trump Organisation.

Source: New York Magazine

“Mr. Trump looked at me and said, ‘I’m thinking about running for president, and you’re going to be my press secretary,'” Hicks once said. “I think it’s the year of the outsider. helps to have people with outsider perspective.”


New York Magazine

Though Hicks had no experience in politics, she was already a well-trained PR representative from the powerhouse firm Hiltzik Strategies when the Trumps hired her in 2014, and she comes from a family of high-profile communications experts.

Sources: Business Insider, Los Angeles Times

Hicks is intensely private and rarely grants interviews to journalists on the record. But others have been eager to sing her praises, describing her as fiercely loyal to Trump and highly effective at reading his moods.

Sources: The New York Times

“Her most important role is her bond with the candidate,” then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort said of Hicks in 2016. “She totally understands him.”

Source: The New York Times

“My father makes people earn his trust. She’s earned his trust,” Ivanka Trump said of Hicks.

Source: The New York Times

Trump himself frequently speaks out in support of her. “I’m lucky to have her,” he said in 2016. “She will often give advice, and she’ll do it in a very low-key manner, so it doesn’t necessarily come off in the form of advice. But it’s delivered very nicely,” he said.

Source: The New York Times

Trump affectionately calls her “Hopester” or “Hopie” — though she still calls him “Mr. Trump.”

Sources: The New York Times, Politico

But Hicks’ job on the campaign trail wasn’t always glamorous. She was reportedly required to steam Trump’s pants — while he was still wearing them — and was once fiercely berated for forgetting the steamer.

Source: Business Insider

But she’s steadfast in her loyalty, and is said to speak effusively of Trump even when off-duty. She once begged guests at a golf club not to worry about his presidency after she overheard them discussing their fears. “I promise, he’s a good person!” she said.

Source: Politico

But Hicks’ proximity to Trump has concerned some of those who know her and who fear her association with him could tarnish her future career prospects. “There are times when I would like to voice my opinion,” one family friend said.

Source: The New York Times

Meanwhile, others in Trump’s and Hicks’ circle have grown irritated by what they view as her tendency to enable Trump during his most impulsive or self-destructive moments.

Sources: The New York Times, Politico

“What’s amazing to me is that Hope sat there and let it happen,” one former top GOP hill aide said last July, after Trump publicly disparaged his own Attorney General. “The fact that people around him are not trying to protect the president blows my mind.”

Source: Politico

That impulse to defend Trump at all costs may have landed her in Mueller’s crosshairs. A former spokesman for Trump’s legal team, Mark Corallo, reportedly plans to implicate Hicks in the obstruction-of-justice case.

Source: Business Insider

Corallo’s concern stems from a conference call between him, Trump, and Hicks, in which Hicks said emails written by Donald Trump Jr. about wanting to receive political dirt about Hillary Clinton from the Russians “will never get out.”

Source: Business Insider

In response, Hicks’ lawyer, Robert Trout, said Hicks “never said that,” adding that she never suggested emails or documents be concealed or destroyed.

Source: Business Insider

But those close to Trump have voiced concerns over his relationship with Hicks and what’s viewed as her complete devotion “to accommodating him,” according to Michael Wolff’s lightly-sourced book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”

Source: “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House

Their relationship was “long tolerated as a quaint bond between the older man and a trustworthy young woman,” but “began to be seen as anomalous and alarming,” Wolff wrote, adding that she eagerly transmitted his unfiltered views to the world.

Pool / Getty Images

Source: “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House

“The problem isn’t Twitter, it’s Hope,” one communications staffer reportedly said.

Source: “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House

Trump and Hicks’ relationship took a turn for the worse in February, after White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigned over allegations that he abused his two ex-wives.

Source: CNN

Hicks, who is romantically involved with Porter, reportedly drafted a statement praising him as “a man of true integrity and honour.” But she didn’t consult Trump beforehand.

Sources: Business Insider, CNN

The controversy cause Trump to grow angry with Hicks, because felt that her judgment was clouded by her relationship with Porter and he believed Hicks had put her priorities ahead of his.

Source: CNN

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