Hope Hicks is resigning from her role as White House communications director, she announced Wednesday.
President Trump hired Hicks before his campaign officially began, and she became one of his most trusted and loyal advisers in her communications role. She survived several staff shakeups early on and famously avoided bad press, but stepped into a negative spotlight in recent weeks because of her involvement in the Rob Porter domestic abuse scandal.
“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.”
Hicks was dating Porter, who resigned from his role as staff secretary in February over domestic abuse allegations from two ex-wives. She told a House intelligence committee interested in what she might know relevant to the Russia probe Tuesday that she occasionally told “white lies” on Trump’s behalf, but hasn’t lied about anything related to Russia.
The White House indicated her departure is voluntary, and aides told The New York Times she had been planning to resign for months, because she felt she had accomplished all she could for the administration. She is a former model who connected with Trump after a brief stint working for his daughter Ivanka, and had no political experience prior to working on his campaign.
“Hope is outstanding and has done great work for the last three years,” Trump said in a statement Wednesday. “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.”
Her resignation comes as White House Chief of Staff John Kelly moves to solidify his influence after mishandling the Porter scandal. Jared Kushner’s security clearance was downgraded this week as a result of changes Kelly made after issues with Porter’s clearance highlighted problems in the system. Jared had been operating on an interim clearance, and the downgrade could hurt his influence in the White House. He and Kelly are reportedly at odds over the matter. Another White House spokesman close to the Kushners resigned abruptly this week.
Kelly praised Hicks in a statement on her resignation: “When I became Chief of Staff, I quickly realized what so many have learned about Hope — she is strategic, poised and wise beyond her years. She became a trusted adviser and counselor and did a tremendous job overseeing the communications for the President’s agenda including the passage of historic tax reform. She has served her country with great distinction.”