How 31-year-old Hope Hicks became the youngest White House communications director in history and a top executive at Fox before returning to counsel Trump

  • Hope Hicks, 31, was one of President Donald Trump's most trusted advisers.
  • Hicks had been with the Trump campaign — to use his words — "from the beginning." She left her job as White House communications director in February 2018 and joined Fox as a spokeswoman.
  • She's returning to the White House as a counselor to the president, reporting to Jared Kushner.
  • On October 1, Hicks reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

 

Hope Hicks was the youngest White House communications director in history. But before joining the 2016 Trump campaign, she had no political experience.

Hicks, now 31, was born in Greenwich, a town of 60,000 on the southwest tip of Connecticut that's a favorite spot for hedge-fund headquarters.

She was a model, actress, and lacrosse player as a child, before getting her English degree at Southern Methodist University.

Hicks didn't intend on playing such a large role in a presidential campaign, instead falling into the gig through a job at the Trump Organization.

In her time at the White House, Hicks became ensnared in two high-profile White House controversies: the special counsel's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and her role in crafting the White House's response to abuse allegations against staff secretary Rob Porter.

In February 2018, Hicks announced she was resigning one day after she said in testimony she had occasionally told white lies for the president but never lied about anything consequential related to the Russia investigation.

After laying low in New York and Connecticut for several months, Hicks headed to 21st Century Fox as executive vice president and chief communications officer.

Now she's rejoining the White House as a counselor to the president, reporting to senior adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Here's what we know about Hicks.

Hicks and her sister, Mary Grace, were successful teen models. Hicks posed for Ralph Lauren and appeared on the cover of "It Girl," a spin-off of the best-selling "Gossip Girl" book and TV series.

Source: The New York Times

Hicks' first brush with the Trumps came in 2012 when she was at the public-relations firm Hiltzik Strategies working on Ivanka Trump's fashion line. Trump's eldest daughter hired Hicks away in 2014 and she became an employee of the Trump Organization.

Sources: New York Times, GQ, NYMag

Hicks met patriarch Trump and quickly "earned his trust," Ivanka Trump told The New York Times for a June 2016 profile on the spokeswoman.

Source: New York Times

In January 2015, Trump called Hicks into his office on the 26th floor of Trump Tower and told her she was joining his presidential campaign. "I think it’s 'the year of the outsider.' It helps to have people with outsider perspective," Hicks said Trump told her.

Source: NYMag

Hicks didn't have any political experience, but her public-relations roots run deep. Both grandfathers worked in PR, and her father, Paul, was the NFL's executive vice president for communications and public relations. He was also a town selectman from 1987 to 1991. Greenwich proclaimed April 23, 2016, as Paul B. Hicks III Day.

Source: Town of Greenwich, GQ

Hicks started working on what would become Trump's campaign five months before Trump announced his presidency, after he famously rode a golden escalator down to the lobby of his tower on June 16, 2015.

That made Hicks the campaign staffer who lasted in Trump's inner circle the longest. She outlasted his first campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, and several senior advisers.

People close to her describe Hicks as a friendly, loyal fighter. Trump has called her a "natural" and "outstanding."

While reporters who have worked with Hicks say she's polite, they have expressed frustration that she was often unreachable on the campaign trail, not responding to requests for comment, or denying access to the candidate.

She said her mom, Caye, told her to write a book about her experience with Trump, like "Primary Colors," the fictional novel depicting President Bill Clinton's first presidential campaign. "You don't even know," she said she told her mother.

Source: NYMag, Primary Colors

During the campaign, Hicks spent most of her days fielding reporters' requests and questions — even reportedly taking dictation from Trump to post his tweets.

Sources: NYMag, NYT

In July 2016, Donald Trump Jr. and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner met with a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower to get "dirt" on opponent Hillary Clinton. Hicks later told Trump "this is going to be a massive story," and that the emails setting it up were "really bad," but he didn't want the details. The meeting became a key point of investigation in Mueller's Russia probe.

Sources: Business Insider, CNN, BuzzFeed

During the campaign, Hicks stayed in a free apartment in a Trump building, though she'd often go home to her parents' house in Connecticut when she could.

She followed Trump to DC. He named her assistant to the president and director of strategic communications in December 2017.

Source: Trump administration

She still flew below the radar, directing the spotlight back on Trump. The then president-elect called her up to the microphone to speak at a "Thank You" rally in December 2017.

It's been said she can act as a sort of Trump whisperer, understanding his many moods and professionally executing what needs to be done. She still only calls him "Sir" or "Mr. Trump."

Sources: New York Times, GQ, NYMag

"If the acting thing doesn’t work out, I could really see myself in politics," Hicks told Greenwich Magazine when she was 13. "Who knows."

Sources: New York Times

In June 2017, the White House released salary info for 377 top staffers. Hicks got paid the maximum amount that any of Trump's aides received: $179,700.

Source: The White House

Hicks made as much as Trump's former chief of staff Reince Priebus, former chief strategist Steve Bannon, former press secretary Sean Spicer, senior counselor Kellyanne Conway, and policy adviser Stephen Miller.

Source: The White House

Some family members and friends have expressed concern that Hicks is so closely tied to a president whose policies and statements are unpopular with a significant number of Americans, but are confident that she'll come through unscathed.

Sources: New York Times, GQ

"There is just no way that a camera or an episode or a documentary could capture what has gone on. There is nothing like it," Hicks told Marie Claire in June 2016. "It is the most unbelievable, awe-inspiring thing."

Source: Marie Claire

In August 2017, Trump asked Hicks to be the new interim White House director of communications, a job that Michael Dubke, Sean Spicer, and Anthony Scaramucci held and left in Trump's first six months in office.

Sources: Daily Caller, New York Times, CNN

The White House said it would announce the permanent choice for the position "at the appropriate time." In September 2017, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it would be Hicks.

Source: Business Insider

That made 29-year-old Hicks the youngest White House communications director in history.

Sources: Daily Caller, New York Times, CNN

But she's became ensnared in the investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election. Special counsel Robert Mueller's team interviewed her in December 2017, and she reportedly hinted at concealing explosive emails about the Trump Tower Russia meeting during a conference call with Trump in July 2016.

Sources: The New York Times, Business Insider

In February 2018, Hicks came under scrutiny for reportedly playing a key role in drafting a statement expressing vehement support for staff secretary Rob Porter after his two ex-wives accused him of physically and emotionally abusing them. Hicks and Porter were rumored to be dating.

Sources: CNN, Business Insider

In February 2018, she testified behind closed doors before the House Intelligence Committee on Trump's ties to Russia, and key incidents that she witnessed during the campaign and in the White House. She reportedly said she has told "white lies" for Trump.

Sources: Business Insider, The New York Times

Though she was front and center in the White House's scandals, Hicks remains a private person, revealing very little about her personal life, and remaining a mystery to many.

On February 28, 2018, news broke that she would resign in the coming weeks. Many in the White House were dismayed.

Source: Business Insider

"She is as smart and thoughtful as they come, a truly great person," Trump said in a statement. "I will miss having her by my side but when she approached me about pursuing other opportunities, I totally understood."

Source: Business Insider

"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."

After leaving the White House, Hicks returned to her family home in Greenwich, Connecticut before being spotted in New York City, where she was reportedly on the job hunt.

Source: Page Six

Hicks made a rare public appearance when she boarded Air Force One in August 2018 to travel to an Ohio rally. Reportedly on Trump's invitation, Hicks talked off the record to reporters, even joking about her career prospects.

Source: Business Insider

After months of staying out of the spotlight, Hicks was confirmed to be heading to a spinoff of 21st Century Fox as executive vice president and chief communications officer in October 2018.

Source: Business Insider

In June 2019, Hicks testified behind closed doors before the House Judiciary Committee. Mueller's final report on the Russia investigation mentioned her name 184 times, so congressional investigators had a lot to talk to her about.

Source: Politico

But White House lawyers blocked Hicks from answering questions 155 times during her congressional testimony, citing "absolute immunity" and Trump's executive privilege.

Source: Business Insider

On February 13, news broke that Hicks was returning to the White House as a senior adviser. She'll report to Kushner and work with Brian Jack, the White House political director.

Sources: Business Insider, The New York Times

On October 1, it was reported that Hicks had tested positive for COVID-19 just days after flying on Air Force One with President Donald Trump and his senior staff.

Source: Business Insider

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