On Wednesday, one of President Donald Trump's longest-standing advisers and aides announced she's departing the administration. White House communications director Hope Hicks is resigning, and though she did not say when, according to The New York Times, it's likely to be happening in the coming weeks.
The news was first reported by Maggie Haberman of The New York Times; Hicks' resignation was then confirmed by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. The announcement comes just one day after Hicks testified before the House Intelligence Committee regarding the Russia investigation. Over the course of eight hours of testimony, Hicks reportedly acknowledged that she's told lies as a part of her job as communications director, but denied lying about anything connected to the Russia investigation. She also reportedly refused to discuss her time working in the White House.
In a statement on Wednesday, Trump responded to the news of Hicks' resignation, calling her a "great person," and claiming she was the one to approach him about leaving the White House.
"Hope is outstanding and has done great work the last three years," the statement said. "She is as smart and as thoughtful as they come, a truly great person. 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."
Hicks has been one of the president's highest-level and most trusted aides throughout his political career, first joining the Trump Organization back in 2014. She was named the press secretary for Trump's presidential campaign one year later, when she was just 26 years old. She was promoted to White House communications director last September, following the incredibly short tenure of Anthony Scaramucci.
She's also been the subject of headlines and controversy in recent days. In the midst of the scandal surrounding former White House staff secretary Rob Porter in early February, it was reported that Hicks was involved in an intimate relationship with Porter, an alleged domestic abuser, and had helped write the administration's original response to the allegations, which strongly backed him.
For his part, Porter has denied the allegations of domestic violence against him. Two of his ex-wives have publicly alleged physical violence at his hands, and one of them, Colbie Holderness, released a photo showing herself with a black eye. Subsequent reports suggested Hicks and Porter stopped dating after the latter's resignation.
As highlighted in the tweet above, Haberman reports that the conspicuous timing of Hicks' resignation announcement ― less than 24 hours after she wrapped up her testimony to the House Intelligence Committee ― is coincidental, according to "multiple sources." Rather, Haberman reports that Hicks had been considering leaving the White House for months prior to Wednesday's unexpected announcement.
Hicks' departure is yet another piece of what's been an unprecedented amount of turnover in the 13 months of the Trump administration. Since entering office last year, Trump's cabinet and inner-circle has seen a slew of resignations and firings, including Mike Flynn, Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer, Anthony Scaramucci, Tom Price, Steve Bannon, Omarosa Manigault, and others. As detailed by NPR, within the first year of the Trump presidency, a reported 34 percent of Trump's "A-team" have already seen turnover, a figure that totally blows other recent presidential administrations out of the water.
It's unclear what new opportunities, if any, Hicks is leaving the White House to pursue. All that seems clear, for now at least, is that her time in public life is drawing to a close. There has so far been no indication from the administration as to who might replace her as communications director.