Shortly after President Trump's communications director announced that she's leaving the White House, Ivanka Trump tweeted about Hope Hicks' departure. The president's daughter said that Hicks is "loved & admired" and wished her well "in her next steps."
Hicks has been with Trump since before he launched his presidential campaign, and is believed to be one of his most trusted advisors. But although she's remained below the radar for most of her time in the White House, she recently drew attention when it was reported that she refused to answer questions during a congressional testimony and, additionally, acknowledged that she has lied for Trump before. She did not provide a reason for her resignation when she announced Wednesday that she'll be leaving the White House.
"There are no words to adequately express my gratitude to President Trump," Hicks said in a statement. "I wish the president and his administration the very best as he continues to lead our country."
The president himself praised Hicks upon news of her departure. "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. "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 had long been one of the few consistent faces in a White House marked by abrupt firings and rapid-fire resignations. She's been working with the family since before Trump even launched his presidential campaign, joining the Trump Organization as a staffer for Ivanka Trump in 2014 before becoming his press secretary a year later. Hicks remained with Trump throughout his entire campaign — itself an impressive feat, given the high rate of turnover on that campaign — and after the election, the president-elect chose her to serve as Director of Strategic Communications, a newly-created position.
Over the course of the next year, countless top officials in the Trump White House either resigned or were fired — but not Hicks. Operating largely behind the scenes, the former Ralph Lauren model remained a constant and highly influential presence in the White House, rarely making headlines but never far from the president's side.
"In a White House where everyone talks about who has power and who does not, [Hicks] is one of the people with the most influence," Philip Rucker, the Washington Post's White House bureau chief, told Univision in 2017.
But after remaining out of the headlines for years, Hicks finally found herself in the spotlight in the weeks leading up to her departure. The New York Times reported that, while being interviewed by congressional investigators about Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election, Hicks acknowledged that she has lied as part of her work for Trump. Relatedly, she "pointedly and repeatedly" refused to answer questions about her time in the White House or the Trump transition team, according to the Times. This led Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee to call for Hicks to be subpoenaed, according to CNN. Republicans, who have a majority in Congress and, by extension, the committee, have thus far refused to issue one.
It's unclear why Hicks is resigning, as neither she nor the White House gave any official reason when she made the announcement. According to Times reporter Maggie Haberman, Hicks' departure has nothing to do with her congressional testimony, and is in fact something she's been contemplating "for months." ABC reporter Jordyn Phelps tweeted Wednesday that Hicks is leaving because she "doesn't like Washington and doesn't want to part of the system."
Despite announcing her resignation, Hicks didn't say when her last day at the White House will be. According to Haberman, she doesn't even have a departure date yet. "This is not her being hustled out of the building," Haberman tweeted.