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How Hope Hicks went from Trump’s confidante to an important witness for the prosecution




How Hope Hicks went from Trump's confidante to an important witness for the prosecution

Hope Hicks was known as Donald Trump’s gatekeeper, a calming force for the former president who has been at his side for years as a loyal confidant.

She now plays a key role as a witness in his trial. Hicks appeared as a witness for the prosecution in the criminal trial in New York on Friday, where she testified against her former boss.

Earlier in the trial, former National Enquirer tabloid publisher David Pecker testified about a conference call Trump arranged with Hicks and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who served in the Trump administration at the time and is now governor of Arkansas. The call revolved around Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal and an agreement with her to prevent her from speaking about the alleged affair with Trump.

“They thought it was a good idea,” Pecker testified about Hicks and Huckabee Sanders.

On the witness stand Friday, Hicks testified that she came up with several possible responses to a Wall Street Journal story about McDougal’s hush money and shared them with Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen. As she began her testimony, her voice wavered and she said she was nervous.

She also told the jury that the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape was a “damaging development” during the 2016 election cycle.

Hicks became one of two top staffers – along with former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski – during the early days of his 2016 campaign. Trump was considered an afterthought by the media at the time, before becoming the dominant leader in the primaries and later in the candidate for the Republican Party. Although there were several shakeups during Trump’s successful bid, Hicks always survived — an indication of her close relationship with Trump.

Hicks joined the Trump White House as a top adviser. She was regularly in the Oval Office with the president and maintained a close relationship with Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, both of whom were also senior figures in the White House. While other aides were embroiled in infighting and unrest, Hicks largely managed to stay above the fray.

While Trump cycled through a number of top advisers who rose and fell in his favor, Hicks was a near constant. Her title was senior communications advisor, but that belied her importance. Her real job, say those who worked with her, was managing Trump. Her office was located just outside the Oval Office, a reflection of her importance to the former president.

“Hope was one of the president’s most loyal and dedicated advisors,” said Raj Shah, a former Trump White House official. “What separated her from others was that she was among the few very smart officers who had been with him from the beginning. The president instinctively trusted her judgment.”

While many people in the Trump White House were motivated to drive a policy or personal agenda, those who worked with Hicks say she had only one interest: Trump himself.

But that closeness also led to her becoming embroiled in his legal issues. For example, Hicks appeared before the grand jury last year before Trump was indicted.

She also attracted attention in 2018 when it emerged that she was romantically involved with fellow White House adviser Rob Porter.

That year she left the White House for the West Coast and moved to Los Angeles to work for the Fox Corporation. Friends said she didn’t like being so far away from her family, and returned to Washington again in March 2020 as an adviser to the president. Her vision for the job was to travel with him and provide strategic advice — but it was the start of the coronavirus pandemic and her attention was drawn to helping manage communications for the coming public health crisis.

Hicks left the White House on January 12, 2021, six days after the deadly siege on the Capitol and eight days before Trump left office. Hicks said at the time that her departure was planned before the riot.

Hicks, it later turned out, was highly critical of Trump’s behavior surrounding the riot in the Capitol. The House committee investigating the attack later released text messages that Hicks sent to Ivanka Trump’s chief of staff, Julie Radford, in which she wrote that “in one day [Trump] ended any future opportunity that didn’t include speaking engagements at the local proud boys chapter.

More recently, Hicks has provided strategic communications advice for controversial fast-fashion retailer Shein, which has recently attracted attention in Washington for its ties to China. During the 2022 midterm elections, Hicks served as an adviser to failed Pennsylvania Senate candidate David McCormick, who is married to former Trump White House official Dina Powell.

“Hope is extremely smart, politically savvy and strategic,” said Hogan Gidley, a former Trump White House official. “She has an incredible ability to read people and read the room in every split second, and when you are dealing with global catastrophes or domestic political battles, she has a very strong skillset and ability to provide powerful advice and to do so selflessly with the statements of Donald Trump. interest in the heart.”