WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR HOPE HICKS RESIGNING

In the latest White House staff shakeup, Communications Director Hope Hicks announced that she’s resigning, news that shocked most in the West Wing. Hicks has been with President Trump since the start of his presidential campaign, even though she was a PR professional with no prior political experience, and has been one of his most trusted aides, viewed almost as a surrogate Trump daughter. The 29-year-old Hicks was the fourth person to be Communications Director since Trump took office, and she took over the position just a few months ago last fall, after having previously been director of strategic communications. Trump issued a statement in which he praised Hicks, saying he will, quote, “miss having her by my side,” and Hicks said in her own statement, “There are no words to adequately express my gratitude to President Trump.” The news came one day after Hicks was interviewed by the House panel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential contact with Trump’s campaign, during which she admitted occasionally telling what she called “white lies” for Trump, while insisting she hadn’t lied about anything related to the Russia probe. However, media reports cited insiders as saying her departure wasn’t related to that, despite the timing, and was instead about her increasingly feeling the stress of the position. That increased after the recent revelations of her reportedly since-ended romantic relationship with former Staff Secretary Rob Porter, who recently stepped down when accusations of domestic abuse from two ex-wives became public. Hicks was reportedly involving in crafting an initial statement that defended Porter. Hicks will remain in the White House for a few more weeks before leaving.