Within hours of Hope Hicks delivering a tearful farewell to her staff at the White House on February 28 (US time), the gravity of her departure was explained by one of her best friends – Ivanka Trump.
Ivanka tweeted about Ms Hicks’s departure from her role as communications director, saying she is “loved and admired” and wishing her well “in her next steps”.
Her resignation came just one day after she admitted during questioning by a House committee investigating potential Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign that she told “white lies” for the President.
“She told colleagues that she had accomplished what she felt she could with a job that made her one of the most powerful people in Washington,” according to The New York Times’s Maggie Haberman, who broke the story.
Ms Hicks felt “there would never be a perfect moment to leave”, Ms Haberman said.
The youngest communications director in history, Ms Hicks, 29, said she had “no words” to thank Mr Trump enough for hiring her.
“Hope is outstanding,” the President said in a statement.
“I will miss having her by my side but when she approached me about pursuing other opportunities, I totally understood.”
But Ms Haberman asked via Twitter “how Trump, a creature-of-habit person … will function going forward without her”.
Hope Hicks is loved & admired by all who know her. It’s with a heavy heart, but tremendous gratitude, that I wish her well in her next steps
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) February 28, 2018
She told colleagues she felt like she had done all she could do in the job. She had never liked Washington and never become part of its ecosystem.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) February 28, 2018
Ms Hicks, a former Ralph Lauren model, has been with Mr Trump since before he launched his presidential campaign.
So close is she to the President that White House staffers said Ms Hicks plays the role of President Trump’s “real daughter”, according to Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.
Her duties included steaming Mr Trump’s pants while he was still wearing them, it is claimed in a new tell-all book by former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, Let Trump Be Trump.
When Mr Trump and his entourage landed anywhere, “It was Hope’s job to steam him. ‘Get the machine!’ he’d yell,” Mr Lewandowski wrote.
“She’d steam the jacket first and then sit in a chair in front of him and steam his pants.”
So, in the absence of a reason from Ms Hicks, why is she walking away?
Breaking the resignation privately to her staff, the public relations consultant said “she doesn’t like Washington and doesn’t want to part of the system, according to a person in the room,” tweeted ABC reporter Jordyn Phelps.
According to Ms Haberman of the Times, Ms Hicks’ departure has nothing to do with her congressional testimony and is something she’s been contemplating “for months”.
Tweeted Ms Haberman, “This is not her being hustled out of the building.”
A source told People magazine Ms Hicks felt “it was time to resign”.
“She has been incredibly loyal to him for a long time but its been a tough few years and she had enough,” the source said.
“She needed to make a change after everything she has been through.”
Ms Hicks kept a notoriously low profile at the White House extending to having no social media presence, but last month was thrust into headlines when then-White House aide Rob Porter was accused of physical and emotional abuse by his two ex-wives.
Despite reportedly dating Mr Porter at the time, Hicks was involved in writing an official statement from White House chief of staff John Kelly supporting Porter as a “an of true integrity”.
The resulting intensified focus was something Ms Hicks “likely did not enjoy”, Business Insider reported.