Hope Hicks has been there through it all.
The 29-year-old was one of Trump’s first hires as he assembled a lean team of aides who would launch his improbable presidential campaign. From then, until his election, she was a constant presence by his side — traveling to nearly every rally, hovering within earshot during interviews and always prepared to type out a bombastic tweet as dictated by her boss.
There was never any question that “Hopie,” as Trump affectionately refers to his longtime communications aide, would follow Trump to the White House once he clinched victory — the only question was, in what capacity?
Doesn’t fit the mold
Hicks doesn’t fit the mold of a top communications aide. She’s never held a press briefing. Never appeared on TV to talk up or defend her boss. And she remains reluctant to talk to reporters on the record — almost always preferring to speak under the cover of anonymity or through emailed statements.
But in the unconventional Trump White House, Hicks has checked the only boxes that matter: Trump trusts her — and she gets him.
Her relationship with the President — one built on loyalty, trust and time — was the critical factor that landed her in the role of White House communications director after serving the first seven months as White House director of strategic communications, according to a half-dozen of Hicks’ current and former colleagues who spoke to CNN. Hicks declined to be interviewed for this article.
The pick marked a 180-degree turn from the White House’s earlier attempts to install a seasoned Republican strategist in the communications director post and was a tacit acknowledgment that wooing such a candidate was likely not in the cards, and, perhaps, simply foolhardy.