President Donald Trump brought his about-to-be former White House communications director out onto the portico of the Oval Office on Thursday for a (very public) final farewell. And photos of Trump and Hope Hicks saying goodbye suggest Trump's longtime aide will be "hugely" missed by the president.
President Trump escorted Hicks out of the Oval Office on Thursday afternoon and then proceeded to repeatedly point her presence out to reporters and photographers waiting for him to depart en route to Ohio and, later, to Florida. The president posed briefly beside Hicks for photos, before shaking her hand and giving her a kiss on the cheek.
The pair then posed for photos one more time, during which Trump smiled and pointed to Hicks once again. After a final handshake, Hicks sashayed away as the president waved to reporters and headed to board Marine One. Trump is not expected to be at the White House for Hicks' last official day, which falls at the end of this week.
In announcing her resignation in late February, Hicks said there were "no words" to fully express the gratitude she had for President Trump. The president praised Hicks in his own statement released shortly after her resignation was announced.
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. I will miss having her by my side, but when she approached me about pursuing other opportunities, I totally understood.
The president went on to say he was "sure" he and Hicks would "work together again in the future." It remains unclear if Hicks will continue to work with Trump in another capacity outside of the White House.
Within the Trump administration, the position of White House communications director has been a job with a particularly high turnover rate. Mike Dubke, the first person to formally hold the position, announced his resignation after a brief 74 days on the job.
After Dubke's departure, then-White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer spent 53 days filling in as acting communications director until Anthony Scaramucci was formally appointed to the role. Scaramucci holds the record for shortest-lived White House communications director ever at 10 days on the job. Hicks, who replaced Scaramucci as communications director on Sept. 12, announced plans to resign at the end of February, after just 171 days in the position.
News of Hicks' resignation hit headlines just one day after she'd told the House Intelligence Committee that her job occasionally required her to tell what she called white lies. However, she maintained that she had not told lies on significant issues connected or related to the Russian investigation.
In a statement to NBC News, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Hicks' plans to resign had "nothing to do" with her testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. Rather, Sanders claimed Hicks's resignation "didn't happen overnight" but had in fact been planned for "several weeks."
Hicks is said to have enjoyed a close relationship with Trump after gaining his trust during the election. Trump's longtime aide and outgoing communications director is reported to be skilled at reading his moods and offering advice in a way the president responds well to.