Hope Hicks currently serves as White House communications director. She was the press secretary for Donald Trump's presidential campaign and then went on to serve on his communications team once he took office. She waspromoted to communications directorin September 2017.
Although her name appears in the media often, Hicks kept a very low profile during the campaign, scrubbing her public social media profile and staying away from stories written about her. (She politely declined a Cosmopolitan.com interview request during the campaign.) In December 2016, she spoke briefly at a Trump victory rally in Mobile, Alabama.
i think i can honestly say this is the first time i've heard hope hicks speak pic.twitter.com/HuidZhCNVk
- David Mack (@davidmackau) December 17, 2016
Now, reports indicate that Robert Mueller's team investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 election may be interested in what she knows and what actions she's taken. And she's also at the center of another controversy, this time surrounding former staff secretary Rob Porter.
Here are 14 things you should know about the woman juggling Trump's message:
1. She's from Greenwich, Connecticut, a wealthy suburb of New York.
2. She's a former college jock.
Hicks graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where she played lacrosse for four years. "She is highly intelligent and brought that to the field in every game ... When needed, she carried the team and would score, but preferred to have assists," her former lacrosse coach Liz Holmes told the Washington Post. "She was the ultimate team player and competitor."
Kylie Burchell, Hicks's lacrosse coach, told GQ Hicks was one of the only players to abide by the team's no-alcohol policy. "I think the girls were annoyed at her a little bit," Burchell said. "She was trying to be a leader. She was showing by example what to do."
3. Her career started in 2012, when she joined the public relations firm Hiltzik Strategies.
There, she worked with the Trump organization, according to the Washington Post. (The firm's founder, Matthew Hiltzik, has worked for Hillary Clinton.) In August 2014, she went in-house with Trump, where, according to New York magazine, she handled PR for Ivanka Trump's fashion line and some Trump resorts.
4. Public relations runs in her family.
Her dad, Paul Hicks III, was a top executive at a PR firm and the NFL's executive vice president of communications before his current job: managing director at the Glover Park Group. Paul Hicks, her late grandfather, was vice president and general manager of public relations for Texaco.
5. She had no political experience prior to the Trump campaign.
In January 2015, Trump called her into his office and, according to New York magazine, said he was making her the press secretary for his upcoming presidential campaign, which officially started in June. And that was that.
While she was on the campaign, Hicks took dictation from Trump for his tweets, then sent them to someone else in the Trump organization to actually tweet, the Washington Post reported.
She was also the gatekeeper for Trump's media requests. During the campaign,she reportedly received upwards of 250 requests to speak with him per day, but "she alone decides who gets in and who's kept out," Olivia Nuzzi wrote for GQ. Occasionally, Hicks would accommodate Trump "tantrums" where he declared a certain reporter must be banned for a while.
6. She was the only young woman in Trump's inner circle during the campaign...
...which included Corey Lewandowski [Editor's note: Trump fired Lewandowski on June 20, 2016] , the campaign manager charged with battery after he allegedly roughed up a female reporter. Hicks's job included issuing statements in defense of Lewandowski.
7. Former colleagues and friends praise her incredible work ethic.
And they described her as likable, loyal, and resilient, according to the Washington Post. According to a February 2018 profile in Town & Country, she wakes up at 4 or 4:30 every morning to work out with weights, runs three miles a day, and is at the White House by 6:30 or 7. “She has basically no life outside of this place,” a colleague said.
8. They also said working with such a controversial figure won't hurt her career prospects.
In fact, it'll likely help her. "When looking at Hope [as a job candidate], I'd be less interested in how intimately she was involved in crafting Trump's persona and more interested in how she functions under pressure, works with reporters and carries herself with integrity - all of which she does very well," David Shane, former executive vice president at Hollywood studio Relativity, told the Washington Post.
9. Previous profiles of Hicks have mentioned that she's a dead ringer for supermodel Hilary Rhoda.
It's hardly relevant to her job - though Hicks has worked as a Ralph Lauren model and served as a one-time model for Ivanka Trump's collection in a "street style" blog post - but there is certainly a resemblance. She also modeled for the book cover of a Gossip Girl spin-off.
10. Hicks lived in a Trump apartment during the campaign.
The demands of the campaign reportedly caused the breakup between her and her boyfriend of six years. Though Hicks lived in Greenwich with her sister, she stayed in a Trump apartment in New York City when she was not traveling.
11. She was the only person in the room when Trump gave an explosive interview to the New York Times.
On July 19 2017, Trump gave a 50-minute interview to the New York Times in which he questioned Attorney General Jeff Sessions's decision to recusal himself from the Russian investigation, said FBI special counsel Robert Mueller would cross a line if he looked into the Trump family's finances, suggested former FBI director James Comey briefed him on a dossier of salacious allegations in order to gain leverage over him, and indicated that he believed health insurance is $12 a year. Hicks was the only aide who sat in on the meeting. "She has accepted that he will say things that people find shocking, or upsetting - but she long ago made the decision that she deeply believes in Trump as a leader, and that she wasn’t going to change or judge a 70-year-old man whose career highs have been based on trusting his own instincts," according to a Politico piece titled "The Untouchable Hope Hicks."
12. She took over as communications director in August 2017.
Starting in August 2017, Hicks served as the interim communications director at the White House, a promotion that came a few weeks after Anthony Scaramucci was ousted after a 10-day stint in the position. The next month, it was reported that this would be her permanent role.
13. She's reportedly spoken to Robert Mueller's team.
In December 2017, a source told ABC News that Hope Hicks was interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller's team for their investigation into potential collusion with Russia in the 2016 election.
Then, on January 31, 2018, the New York Timespublished a story reporting that Mark Corallo, who served as a spokesman for Mr. Trump’s legal team before resigning, would tell Mueller's team that Hicks said on a call with him and the president that Donald Trump Jr.'s emails about the Russia meeting would “never get out.”
“She never said that. And the idea that Hope Hicks ever suggested that emails or other documents would be concealed or destroyed is completely false,” Hicks’s lawyer Robert P. Trout said in a statement.
14. She's also spoken to the House Intelligence Committee.
In February 2018, Hicks met with House members investigating Russian interference with the election, but according to the Washington Post, she refused to answer questions about anything that had happened since the inauguration. She did tell investigators that she occasionally tells white lies for the president, the New York Times reported, but "she insisted that she had not lied about matters material to the investigations into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible links to Trump associates."
15. A scandal involving a former aide put her in the spotlight.
Rob Porter, who served as a staff secretary in the Trump administration, resigned in February 2018 after reports surfaced about his ex-wives accusing him of abuse. (Porter denies the allegations against him.) CNN reports that Hicks is in a romantic relationship with Porter, and had helped draft a White House statement defending him. White House spokesman Raj Shah said Hicks had recused herself from some matters surrounding the Porter controversy. But CNN also reported that Trump is "increasingly frustrated" with Hicks, and thinks her relationship clouded her judgment.
This post was originally published during the campaign and has been updated.
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