Every week is extraordinary in the Trump administration — but this week seems stranger than most. Matters are rumbling in the belly of the beast. On Tuesday, we learned that Jared Kushner had his security clearance downgraded. Today, we learn that Hope Hicks, famously Trump’s most trusted aide, has resigned, a day after she testified to the House Intelligence Committee as part of the Russia investigation. Hicks stonewalled questions from the committee for several hours, though she did reportedly open up a little on certain aspects of Trump’s transition. She is the fourth Trump White House communications director to quit in just over a year. It can’t be easy leading the war against fake news.
The tributes to Hicks, a former model who seems to inspire great affection in powerful men, have been fulsome. President Trump said, ‘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.’
Chief of Staff John Kelly added, ‘When I became Chief of Staff, I quickly realised 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. To say that she will be missed, is an understatement.’
So why has she gone? Presumably, for all the insistence otherwise, something happened in the testimony that has triggered her departure? Was it too much for 29-year-old woman with no real experience in politics? Is the Trump administration starting to collapse under the pressure of Robert Mueller’s persistent and multi-fronted inquiry? Watch this space.