The Slatest

Hope Hicks Is Back in the White House

So is Trump’s scandal-plagued “body man.”

Hope Hicks, wearing sunglasses and a blazer, is standing outside.
Former White House communications director Hope Hicks, seen as she leaves a closed-door interview with the House Judiciary Committee in June of 2019.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Nearly two years after Hope Hicks resigned from her position as President Donald Trump’s communications director, the 31-year-old aide will return to the White House, this time to work as a senior adviser for Jared Kushner.

According to the New York Times, Hicks, who was one of Trump’s most trusted advisers, will now be “counselor to the president.” She will not be doing communications, according to the Times, but instead will be working on projects spearheaded by Kushner.

She’s not the only one making a return appearance at the White House. The Washington Post reported Thursday that Johnny McEntee, Trump’s longtime “body man,” will now lead the White House office of personnel—a position that will allow him to control hires in all kinds of positions around the federal government.

McEntee was fired and escorted from the White House in 2018 because he was under investigation for serious financial crimes. He was immediately hired by the Trump campaign. McEntee had been one of Trump’s “original” aides, along with Hicks and Dan Scavino. He and Hicks were both considered two of Trump’s most trusted advisers.

Hicks was a highly influential, though somewhat mysterious, member of Trump’s administration. She first started working from Trump during his campaign, when she was just 26 and had virtually no experience in political communication: She had been, until that point, working for Ivanka Trump’s fashion brand. She rose within the administration with Trump’s trust, eventually taking over as communications director after Anthony Scaramucci was forced out of the position following some crass comments (in an on-the-record interview, he accused Steve Bannon of trying to fellate himself). Hicks announced her resignation shortly after she testified before the House Intelligence Committee, saying she sometimes told “white lies” for Trump. She was replaced by Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who has said that Hicks’ departure had nothing to do with the testimony.

Since leaving the White House in 2018, Hicks has been the head of communications for the Fox Corp., of which Fox News is a subsidiary. While little has been reported about the reasoning for the return, the Times had a theory to offer: “Her return will come as his re-election campaign intensifies and as his advisers say the superstitious president has talked about recreating some aspects of that first race.”

Both pieces of news came as reminders of the president’s obsession with loyalty. Just last week, Trump purged staffers who cooperated with the impeachment proceedings. On Monday, he withdrew his nomination of Jessie Liu, who once oversaw the Roger Stone prosecution, for a high-level position in the Treasury Department. Liu resigned Wednesday.