In a White House full of noise, she is the quiet one. Not the TV gladiator, not press room warrior, not a general. Certainly not the Mooch.
Hope Hicks, the discreet aide always at President Trump’s side whose desk is just outside the Oval Office, is his right-hand woman. Improbably, the former model, at only 29, has worked with Trump longer than anyone he is not related to at the White House.
But now Hicks is suddenly frying under the spotlight of scandal, a central figure in two White House controversies — the Russian investigation and the departure of a senior White House aide accused of physically abusing two ex-wives.
Hicks has been dating Rob Porter, 40, who left his job Wednesday, and was involved in crafting the widely condemned initial White House defense of him. Chief of Staff John F. Kelly called him “a man of true integrity.”
After Porter began dating Hicks, an ex-girlfriend brought accusations to the White House about Porter’s abuse of his ex-wives.
In recent days, Trump has complained about Hicks — a rare occurrence for a president who rages about others but rarely about her. Her colleagues have quietly accused her of looking out for Porter and not the White House, and she has been visibly upset in recent days as her personal life becomes a national news story. West Wing aides say she has glanced at the TV screens, seen her face and quickly looked away.
Until now, it was Hicks’s quiet judgment that had been her most valuable currency in Trump’s world. She is attracting so much unwanted attention that paparazzi are even following her. But it is a sign of her influence with Trump, and her unusual role in the West Wing, that no one is seriously talking about removing Hicks even as the turmoil is threatening Kelly’s job. “Hope is absolutely fantastic. She was with the campaign from the beginning, and I could not ask for anything more,” Trump said Saturday. “Hope is smart, very talented and respected by all.”