Trump top communications aide Hicks resigns: White House


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Hope Hicks, one of U.S. President Donald Trump’s longest-serving, most trusted aides, is resigning from her job as White House communications director.

The White House announced she was leaving a day after Hicks, 29, spent nine hours in a closed hearing of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee on its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Hicks’ decision to leave was not related to her appearance before the panel. Lawmakers said Hicks, Trump’s spokeswoman during the election campaign, declined to answer questions about the administration.

Hicks’ exact departure was unclear but is expected to be sometime over the next few weeks.

Hicks was caught up in a controversy surrounding former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, whom she had been dating. She worked to defend him when charges of domestic abuse against his two former wives emerged. Porter was ultimately forced to resign.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump confers with White House Communications Director Hope Hicks (L) as White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders (R) listens during an interview with Reuters at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 17, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

A one-time aide to Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and with no previous experience in politics, Hicks was one of the first people hired by the then-New York businessman when he began his campaign for the presidency.

She has developed into one of his most trusted advisers. Aides said she had approached the president and told him she wanted to leave so she could start exploring opportunities outside of the White House.

Her departure will deprive Trump of an important confidant and adviser, someone who knows his likes and dislikes through more than three years of experience.

“Hope is outstanding and has done great work for the last three years. She is as smart and thoughtful as they come, a truly great person,” Trump said in a statement released by the White House. “I will miss having her by my side but when she approached me about pursuing other opportunities, I totally understood. I am sure we will work together again in the future.”

Robert Trout, a lawyer for Hicks, declined comment. Hicks said in her own statement that “there are no words to adequately express my gratitude to President Trump. I wish the president and his administration the very best as he continues to lead our country.”

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said in a statement of Hicks: “To say that she will be missed, is an understatement.”

Hicks took over as communications director in September after the difficult, 11-day tenure of Anthony Scaramucci, who was fired. She is credited behind the scenes for stabilizing the communications operation.

Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Sandra Maler and Grant McCool

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