What Hope Hicks' Departure Means

Reactions to the resignation of the latest White House communications director
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2018 1:03 AM CST
What Hope Hicks' Departure Means
In this Feb. 9, 2018, photo, White House Communications Director Hope Hicks is shown in the Oval Office.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Hope Hicks is out: She's the fourth White House communications director to resign during President Trump's tenure, and she was also one of the president's closest and most long-standing aides. At the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin calls the timing of Hicks' departure "curious," given that she refused to answer certain questions during her interview Tuesday with the House Intelligence Committee, and as during that same interview she reportedly admitted to occasionally telling "white lies" for Trump. But Rubin concludes it was likely Hicks herself who wanted to leave, as Trump has "depended on her assistance for years" and almost certainly wouldn't have pushed for her to go; chief of staff John Kelly also had nothing to gain from her departure. It could simply be that "the personal strain of working in this White House simply isn't worth it," Rubin muses. More reactions to her departure:

  • CNN rounds up reactions from members of the press who recall how close Hicks was to Trump and how much power she had. She often arranged interviews with the president "seemingly independent of the rest of the White House press operation," or procured spur-of-the-moment comments from Trump for reporters. But she did all this behind the scenes, keeping herself notably out of the spotlight.
  • At Time, Philip Elliott calls Hicks' departure "a blow to the White House," quoting a White House official who says, "I cannot overstate how important Hope is to keeping this thing together." Another calls her "the Trump whisperer."
  • At CNN, Chris Cillizza calls Hicks' official reason for resigning—she reportedly said "she had accomplished what she felt she could with a job that made her one of the most powerful people in Washington, and that there would never be a perfect moment to leave"—"totally ridiculous." Hicks is, in fact, leaving during one of the worst possible times, in the midst of a series of White House controversies and problems. "This is a White House in crisis," he writes.

  • Politico's headline sums things up thusly: "The Loneliest Man in Washington Just Got Lonelier." That's a reference to Trump, who pretty much just has his actual family left at this point, Edward-Isaac Dovere writes: "There is no metaphorical family, no core group of aides who've been through the ringer together, come out beaten but bound forever, trusting each other, trusting the president and having him trust them." This is a scenario unlike any other faced by a recent president, and "the problems keep piling up."
  • Speaking of those aforementioned "white lies," though, Republican Rep. Tom Rooney says Democrats leaked the admission and made it out to be a bombshell—but it wasn't. Per the Daily Caller, Rooney says Hicks' comment was innocuous and that she never lied about anything like the Russia matter. CNN also published an explainer of the comment, quoting sources who say Hicks simply meant she might tell people Trump was in a meeting when he actually wasn't.
(More Hope Hicks stories.)

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