White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, one of President Donald Trump’s closest confidants and advisers, is leaving her post.
“I can confirm,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told a group of reporters outside her office after a New York Times report about Hicks’ departure.
Sanders said Hicks will remain in her post for an unspecified amount of time.
Hicks was at the center of a domestic abuse scandal involving her then-boyfriend, former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter.
Hicks testified Tuesday before the House Intelligence Committee as part of its Russia election meddling probe. She reportedly told the panel her job sometimes requires her to tell “white lies” on behalf of the president.
Asked if her resignation has anything to do with her testimony, Sanders replied: “Nothing at all whatsoever.”
One White House aide said Hicks has had “multiple conversations” throughout the day with other staffers to inform them of her decision.
Aides were huddled in Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ office late in the afternoon. “Everybody loves you,” said a voice from within.
Another aide said they wanted to treat her departure as a “celebration.”
Hicks considered leaving even before the domestic abuse scandal involving Porter, Sanders said.
No replacement is ready to be named and no list of candidates for the job has been crafted, Sanders said.
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In a statement, Trump and Hicks lauded one another.
“Outstanding,” he said.
“No words to adequately express my gratitude,” she said.
Chief of Staff John Kelly came under fire for his handling of the Porter scandal. He knew about the allegations and did nothing but promote Porter, then defended him for more than a day after the news broke — all while allowing Hicks to be involved in crafting the White House response.
Kelly ultimately fired Porter, but it left him damaged in the West Wing. Now a dinged chief of staff must find a new communications director, again.
Hicks is the latest senior aide or Cabinet-level official to leave the Trump administration after 13 chaotic months.
Her coming exit follows the departures or firings of:
- National Security Adviser Michael Flynn
- FBI Director James B. Comey
- Press Secretary Sean Spicer
- Chief of Staff Reince Priebus
- Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland
- Chief Strategist Steve Bannon
- National security adviser Sebastian Gorka
- Incoming Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci
- Deputy Chief of Staff Katie Walsh
- Communications Director Michael Dubke
- Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub
- Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe
- Top National Security Council Middle East adviser Derek Harvey
- U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Brenda Fitzgerald
- White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter