Close aide Hicks is interim White House communications chief

Ms Hope Hicks has the most sway over who in the news media gets interviews with the President.
Ms Hope Hicks has the most sway over who in the news media gets interviews with the President.

WASHINGTON • President Donald Trump's close aide Hope Hicks will serve as the interim White House director of communications and will help the US leader find a permanent person for the job, according to a senior administration official.

However temporary it is, it was the latest reshuffling in the White House and comes at a time when Mr Trump's remarks on white supremacists were drawing fire from Democrats and Republicans.

The role of communications director is to set a clear and direct message coming from the White House each day.

The 28-year-old already is considered one of the most important people in the Trump communications orbit and has the most sway over who in the news media gets interviews with the President. Her current title is director of strategic communications. She was a spokesman for Mr Trump during his presidential campaign and at the Trump Organisation.

Ms Hicks is close to the President, and also close to Mr Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Mr Jared Kushner, and Mr Trump's daughter Ivanka.

Ms Hicks will temporarily fill the vacancy left by Mr Anthony Scaramucci, who lasted 10 days.

Mr Scaramucci was forced out of his post last month after unloading a crude verbal tirade against other members of the President's staff - including Mr Reince Priebus, the former White House chief of staff, and Mr Stephen Bannon, the chief White House strategist - in a conversation with a reporter for The New Yorker.

Ms Hicks, a onetime champion lacrosse player who signed a Ford modelling contract as a teenager, had never worked in politics before she joined Mr Trump's campaign.

She had trained at Hiltzik Strategies, the powerful public relations firm that represents Hollywood clients and corporate executives. But her widest exposure had been as a co-star in a Nickelodeon children's television special on golf.

She was working for Ms Trump's luxury lines and for the Trump real estate brand when the presidential candidate called her to his office in early 2015 and declared that she was joining his campaign.

"Mr Trump sat her down and said, 'This is your new job'... It was a shocker," her mother, Mrs Caye Cavender Hicks, was quoted as saying last year.

Mr Paul Manafort, the veteran Republican adviser and Mr Trump's former campaign chairman, had said of Ms Hicks: "Her most important role is her bond with the candidate. She totally understands him."

Ms Trump had also said in an interview last year: "My father makes people earn his trust. She's earned his trust."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2017, with the headline 'Close aide Hicks is interim White House communications chief'. Print Edition | Subscribe