And there it is—SMU grad Hope Hicks, President Donald Trump’s most loyal staffer with Texas ties, is taking over as the interim director of communications.
It’s probably not surprising that she’s been placed in this role. She was her boss’ spokeswoman during his campaign, and largely lets him roam. You may recall she was in the room during that infamous New York Times interview, when Trump alleged that the Japanese prime minister’s wife couldn’t speak English and suggested that he’d consider firing special counsel Robert Mueller if his investigation into Russian collusion during the election expanded into Trump’s finances.
Previously Trump’s director of strategic communications, Hicks has been the subject of profiles in GQ and POLITICO, and has outlasted latecomers like former spokesman Sean Spicer and ousted chief of staff Reince Priebus. It’s a safe bet she’ll last longer than her predecessor, Anthony Scaramucci—a man who referred to himself as “The Mooch”—who was out after 10 days. Hicks graduated from SMU in 2010. She now holds the office’s highest communications position, apparently keeping the role until Trump finds a permanent replacement. POLITICO has some insight into why:
In a White House staffed with aides pushing their competing personal agendas, Hicks stands apart as a loyalist who is there solely because of her commitment to Trump and his family, who isn’t eyeing the next job up the food chain. She is sometimes treated like an extended family member of the close-knit clan. She has joined Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump for Shabbat dinner at their Kalorama mansion, and stood shoulder to shoulder with the Trump family during an audience earlier this year in Rome with the pope, along with other inner-circle aides.
Internally, she has joked that her title is not about strategically communicating with the press — it’s about strategically communicating with the president. She knows that telling Trump what not to say, ahead of an interview, is a losing proposition. She has accepted that he will say things that people find shocking, or upsetting — but she long ago made the decision that she deeply believes in Trump as a leader, and that she wasn’t going to change or judge a 70-year-old man whose career highs have been based on trusting his own instincts.