Hope Hicks to Leave Post as White House Communications Director

Ms. Hicks, 29, a former model who joined Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign without any experience in politics, became known as one of the few aides who understood Mr. Trump’s personality and style and could challenge the president to change his views.

Her title belied the extent of her power within the West Wing — after John F. Kelly was appointed White House chief of staff, she had more access to the Oval Office than almost any other staff member. Her own office, which she inherited after the departure of another Trump confidant, Keith Schiller, was just next door.

.. Most significantly, Mr. Trump felt a more personal comfort with Ms. Hicks than he has established with almost any of his other, newer advisers since coming to Washington. And for a politician who relies so heavily on what is familiar to him, her absence could be jarring.

.. Ms. Hicks said that she had “no words” to express her gratitude to the president, who responded with his own statement.

.. But as the person who spent the most time with Mr. Trump, Ms. Hicks became enmeshed in a number of controversies over the past year, including key aspects of the investigations by Congress and the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into possible collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.

.. Her resignation came a day after she testified for eight hours before the House Intelligence Committee, telling the panel that in her job, she had occasionally been required to tell white lies but had never lied about anything connected to the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

.. it was reported that she had dated Rob Porter,

.. Ms. Hicks’s departure will coincide with those of other people who have been close to the Trump family members in the White House.

  • Reed Cordish, a policy adviser and friend of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, is leaving his role;
  • Josh Raffel, a press aide whose initial portfolio was primarily focused on Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump, is also leaving; and
  • Dina Powell, who had been a deputy national security adviser who was close to Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump, left weeks ago.

Their absence will deprive Mr. Trump and his daughter and son-in-law of many of the aides who served as crucial buffers and sounding boards as a turbulent and politically uncertain year begins.

.. Ms. Hicks had advised Mr. Trump, according to multiple White House officials, was to tone down some of his Twitter posts or stop sending them altogether, an effort that had mixed results. She also had the

  • ability to stop Mr. Trump from focusing on an issue he was angry about, and sometimes
  • shield other members of the staff from Mr. Trump’s anger.

.. those in the West Wing who did not like her approach feared her power, and worried about crossing her

.. Dan Scavino Jr., the White House digital director, is the only member of the president’s original campaign team still working directly for Mr. Trump.

.. Mercedes Schlapp — who Mr. Kelly brought in as a ballast against Ms. Hicks’s influence

.. 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

Donald Trump and His Work Wives

Mr. Trump’s penchant for hiring women into often vaguely defined but closely held roles.

.. “Women, according to Trump, were simply more loyal and trustworthy than men,” Mr. Wolff writes. “Men might be more forceful and competent, but they were also more likely to have their own agendas. Women, by their nature, or Trump’s version of their nature, were more likely to focus their purpose on a man. A man like Trump.” Mr. Trump, the author continued, “needed special — extra-special — handling. Women, he explained to one friend with something like self-awareness, generally got this more precisely than men. In particular, women who self-selected themselves as tolerant of or oblivious to or amused by or steeled against his casual misogyny and constant sexual subtext — which was somehow, incongruously and often jarringly, matched with paternal regard — got this.”

The term “emotional labor” gets vastly overused, but this is a textbook example. The women who work for Mr. Trump aren’t just required to perform their professional tasks; they also have to coddle and care for a volatile patriarch.

Donald Trump doesn’t just have a woman problem; he has a work wife problem.

.. the terms “work wife” and “work husband” sneaked into the lexicon, describing what are typically benign workplace intimacies: a close co-worker with whom you share not only tasks but also complaints and office gossip.

.. as women who work know, egalitarianism is not always the norm, and many of us have found ourselves serving as the caretaking “work wife” to the emotionally needier male co-worker or superior. This is common dynamic, if a seldom-addressed one (it certainly went unmentioned by the “Women Who Work” author, Ivanka Trump, who occupies this very role in her father’s professional world).

.. What Mr. Trump demands of his female subordinates, though, is something greater than your still-sexist but wholly run-of-the-mill concerns about gendered expectations in the workplace. Women like Ivanka Trump, Hope Hicks and Kellyanne Conway don’t just counsel the president and liaise with the press and public; they offer a feminine salve, simultaneously sanctioning Mr. Trump’s sexist commentary and buttressing his ego by situating themselves as little girls in need of direction from Big Daddy (literally, in Ivanka’s case).

.. Benevolent sexism is more insidious. In the view of the benevolent sexist, women and men should occupy fundamentally different roles, with the men as patriarchs and women, with our naturally maternal and gentle dispositions, as helpmates and caretakers. In some conservative, religious or simply strongly male-dominated communities, you see this dressed up as a form of feminism — the idea being that women can find respect and purpose by tapping into our intrinsic maternal nature.

.. When Mr. Trump’s defenders use the fact that the president has employed and encouraged a handful of women — to, as we now know, also serve as his uncompensated therapists — as a shield against accusations of sexism, they are deploying a similarly mendacious argument.

.. So what if the requirements for being treated as “special” involve playacting hyperfemininity, stroking a man’s ego and carefully managing his feelings? That’s just how men are, and that’s what men want.

.. Assumptions that women will monitor and manage men’s emotions span industries and political persuasions. It’s not that subtly sexist men refuse wholesale to hire women; it’s that they often hire a small number of us, with the unspoken but swiftly understood expectation that we will be the uncompensated “chief feelings officer.” Then they often lose respect for us because we play this very role.

.. But when faced with bosses or colleagues who require this hybrid of good-daughter devotion and quasi-maternal coddling from their “work wives,” women have two choices: Expend the unpaid effort and lose valuable time and energy, all while knowing you’ll never be as respected as a man who doesn’t have to handhold and head-pat his employer; or refuse to do it, and risk losing the job altogether. It’s not just the craven Kellyannes and Hopes and Ivankas of the world who opt for the former.