Hope Hicks was Trump’s longest-serving aide after his actual family

"America First"
"America First"

Donald Trump’s trusted spokesperson Hope Hicks refused to comment so often during his 2016 presidential campaign that someone started a @HicksNoComment Twitter account. Her unexpected departure today from the White House, where she’s led the communications team since last August, was similarly subdued.

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

Hicks was the president’s longest-serving aide in the White House aside from his daughter and son-in-law. Her exit was preceded by the departure of strategic advisor Stephen Bannon, communications directors Sean Spicer, and Anthony Scaramucci, chief of staff Reince Priebus, and national security officials Michael Flynn and Sebastian Gorka, among others.

On Tuesday, Hope apparently was more forthcoming to Congress, testifying to the House Intelligence Committee investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election that her job meant she had “occasionally told white lies,” the New York Times reported. Whether Hicks’s departure had anything to do with that testimony is unclear—the White House seemed to suggest on Wednesday that she got another job. “I will miss having her by my side but when she approached me about pursuing other opportunities, I totally understood,” president Trump said in a statement. “I am sure we will work together again in the future,” he added.

Hicks, 29, is “strategic, poised and wise beyond her years,” chief of staff John Kelly said in a written statement. “She has served her country with great distinction. To say that she will be missed, is an understatement.”

A third-generation public relations professional and teen model who grew up in the hedge fund mecca of Greenwich, Connecticut, Hicks had no experience in politics before joining the Trump Organization in 2014. She joined at the behest of Trump’s daughter Ivanka, whose fashion brand had hired the PR agency where Hicks worked. Hicks quickly became one of Donald Trump’s most trusted advisors (Politico once dubbed her Trump’s “gatekeeper and security blanket), and was part of the team that crafted the candidate’s, and then the president’s, responses to a string of controversies and upsets.

Hicks was involved in drafting a statement about Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russian nationals in Trump tower that is reportedly the focus of the ongoing FBI investigation into Russian election interference, and the White House’s bungled reaction to the news that aide Robert Porter had been accused of domestic abuse, but still got security clearance.

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