A nameless person on Twitter mused that the most recent in a long line of outgoing White House Communications Directors, Hope Hicks, never really has been a communications director, but rather her role was similar to that of the “comfort goat” placed in the stall of Secretariat to keep him calm. While Donald Trump is certainly no Triple Crown winning thoroughbred, the analogy seems otherwise apt.
Her youth, messy and irresponsible romantic entanglements, and model good-looks have given her potential criminality, or blind support thereof, an aura of glamour, prompting a spate of gossipy reports and speculation that Hope Hicks is ripe for a $10 million book deal, a movie, and any and all of the accoutrements awarded celebrities, regardless of how that celebrity status was achieved.
In short, Hope Hicks is on track to monetize shame, stupidity, possible obstruction of justice and even potentially conspiracy with Russia to undermine U.S. elections. Her almost comical, chronic, repeated instances of exercising extremely poor judgement on so very many levels is about to become her lottery ticket.
After the public humiliation of her romantic relationship with alleged wife beater and senior White House aide Rob Porter was exposed as she drafted the statement of support for Porter to be issued by White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly, (not long after her alleged affair with the married-with-four-kids Corey Lewandowski was revealed) Hope Hicks was already smarting.
Robert Mueller’s December grilling of her seemed not to faze her. After all, Trump could protect her from him, right? Mueller was just on a politically-driven witch hunt, right? Trump was untouchable, and so were those who remained loyal to him — right? RIGHT??? But then came Congress. Nine hours of Congress, to be precise. Facing a room full of bi-partisan interrogators in the House, things no longer seemed quite so simple.
Groomed and coiffed to the hilt for her own “Fawn Hall” moment, Trump’s millennial chief pants steamer apparently admitted to Congress to telling a number of Little White Lies on behalf of Trump, mostly to the press. That this appears to be taken with a grain of salt is disturbing. As someone who’s served as a press secretary and communications director, I can attest to the fact that while a bit of creative spinning to the press may at times occur, lying is off the table. Period.
But while Hicks, (often referred to as a surrogate daughter to Trump) believed he would protect her and that as long as she pleased him, she would be fine, Trump’s reliance on her and confiding in her on matters relating to Mueller’s Russia investigation instead has placed her in possible severe legal jeopardy. Rather than apologizing to her and beseeching her to grant him forgiveness, Trump reportedly berated her for telling even a few truths to Congress, asking how she “could be that stupid” despite the fact that lying to Congress is a crime.
Trump had no care or concern for the danger Hicks was in and his role in endangering her. While his harsh assessment of her was, arguably, dead on, it’s not for the reasons he stated.
Hicks has been present, involved in and privy to a number of matters that have become legal landmines and perhaps even crimes. From fielding press calls for Paul Manafort, helping craft statements that could be obstruction of justice regarding the Russians meeting with Trump staff and son in Trump Tower, to being with the President the day before he fired FBI Director James Comey, she’s up to her neck in this thing. More knave than ingenue, Hope Hicks told seasoned, reputable, talented GOP flack Mark Corallo on a conference call with Trump “those emails will never get out” – the ones where Don Jr., Jared and Manafort set up a meeting in Trump Tower to get incriminating information about Hillary Clinton. The ones in which Mueller is very, very interested. (Corallo quit the Trump team as a result of that legally perilous call.) For some, this might translate into a prison sentence, or at least political and professional banishment. But Hope Hicks is being transformed into a Kardashian.