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Hope Hicks, Trump’s Communications Director, to Resign
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Hope Hicks, Trump’s Communications Director, to Resign

Source: wsj.com

Hope Hicks, White House communications director, said Wednesday she is resigning, marking the departure of a presidential confidante and longtime lieutenant from the West Wing.

Ms. Hicks has been one of President Donald Trump’s longest-serving aides, handling most of the communications responsibilities for his 2016 election campaign before joining him as director of strategic communications. In September, she was tapped to serve as communications director, becoming the fourth person to hold that role in the administration’s first year. Over Mr. Trump’s first 13 months in office, she has become his closest aide who isn’t a member of the family, according to several officials.

Ms. Hicks, 29 years old, told the president in recent weeks that she wanted to leave the White House to explore outside opportunities, according to a White House official. Ms. Hicks informed the president Wednesday that she planned to resign. She doesn’t yet have a departure date, but is expected to leave in the coming weeks.

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

In a statement, Mr. Trump called Ms. Hicks “outstanding” and “as smart and thoughtful as they come.”

“I will miss having her by my side but when she approached me about pursuing other opportunities, I totally understood,” Mr. Trump said. “I am sure we will work together again in the future.”

Her exit leaves Mr. Trump with few aides with whom he has a longstanding relationship. Mr. Trump’s first year in office has seen the departure of more than a dozen top aides, including a national security adviser, a chief of staff, three communications directors, one chief strategist and a press secretary. On Tuesday, Josh Raffel, the spokesman for senior White House adviser Jared Kushner and a deputy communications director, said he planned to depart the White House in the coming weeks.

Ms. Hicks, who for the most part kept a low profile in the White House, has faced scrutiny in recent weeks over her personal relationship with Rob Porter, the former White House staff secretary who resigned amid allegations of domestic abuse by his ex-wives, which he denied. The White House faced widespread criticism for its response to the allegations and Mr. Trump privately placed some of the blame on Ms. Hicks, White House officials said—surprising people inside the West Wing because he has rarely criticized her.

White House chief of staff John Kelly called Ms. Hicks “strategic, poised and wise beyond her years.”

Mr. Kelly in recent months had frequently asked others about what they thought of the performance of Ms. Hicks and other top communications officials. Some tensions had existed between the two as a result of Ms. Hicks’ close relationship with the president, though Mr. Kelly respected her work, people familiar with the matter said.

One of the names that has been discussed internally as Ms. Hicks’s successor is Mercedes Schlapp, a deputy communications director who has been handling strategic planning for the press office.

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