One particular former White House communications director has usually been portrayed as a Trump family favorite, but the ex-staff member may have ruffled some of the president's feathers. Trump reportedly criticized Hope Hicks over her testimony to the House Intelligence Committee the day before her resignation, according to CNN.
Still, Trump wished Hicks the best of luck in a statement following her resignation, according to The New York Times.
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. I am sure we will work together again in the future.
Hicks testified on Tuesday behind closed doors, reportedly admitting that she told "white lies" as part of her job. She denied, however, lying about anything related to the Trump-Russia probe. One of Trump's "close allies" said Trump reportedly chastised Hicks for her admission and asked her "how she could be so stupid," reported CNN's Erin Burnett.
A day after testifying, Hicks announced she was resigning from her position as White House communications director. Hicks joined the notoriously long list of former White House staff members who were fired or quit during the Trump presidency, a list which includes her predecessor Anthony Scaramucci.
The notoriously private 29-year-old found herself thrust in the spotlight when allegations rose that she was willing to obstruct justice in the Trump-Mueller investigation. The New York Times reported that former Trump legal spokesman Mark Corallo was going to tell Mueller that Hicks allegedly vowed that Donald Trump Jr.'s emails would "never get out." Robert P. Trout, a lawyer representing Hicks, immediately denied the allegations and released this statement:
She never said that. And the idea that Hope Hicks ever suggested that emails or other documents would be concealed or destroyed is completely false.
The emails in question refer to ones from Trump Jr., which set up the meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower in 2016. Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort joined Trump Jr. for the meeting, allegedly to procure resources that would damage Hillary Clinton's campaign. Trump Jr. admitted the meeting indeed took place and released some of the email communication, but denied knowing what the meeting was really about ahead of time.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team have been investigating whether the Trump campaign team cooperated with the Kremlin to sway the 2016 presidential election — an allegation that Trump has denied. Hicks, who has stayed mostly in the background amid White House drama, became a public part of the Trump-Russia saga after news of her alleged role in covering up relevant information broke.
Over her political career, Hicks seldom gave interviews and shunned most media appearances. The youngest member of Trump's staff was paid a salary equal to the most senior staff members Kellyanne Conway and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. Her job reportedly involved transcribing Trump's tweets for him, among other tasks. In journalist Michael Wolff's fly-on-the-wall exposé Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, Wolff wrote that Trump treated Hicks like a daughter, giving her the affectionate nickname Hopie. And that's why reports that Trump seriously criticized her are so shocking — perhaps, according to the claims, she wasn't always on his good side.
Hicks' resignation marks the end to her White House career — for now at least. Regarding her leaving, TIME reported that White House lawyer Ty Cobb said, "I can't imagine anyone here leaving a bigger hole in the White House than Hope on her departure."