Trump’s new power couple

She’s a strategic adviser in President Donald Trump’s West Wing. He’s a lobbyist who moonlights as the head of the American Conservative Union, which hosts the annual Conservative Political Action Conference — a key gathering for Trump supporters.

.. Mercedes and Matt Schlapp, a power couple tailor-made for Trump’s Washington.

 .. have embraced their parallel roles as loyal surrogates for a president whose rise has reshaped their party and upended the conservative movement.
.. , Mercedes Schlapp — known as Mercy — is among the leading candidates to become communications director after the resignation last week of Hope Hicks.
.. The move, said to be favored by White House chief of staff John Kelly
.. Other internal candidates under consideration include Treasury spokesman Tony Sayegh and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who could take on a dual role, as her predecessor, Sean Spicer, did.
.. Schlapp, a former Fox News contributor
.. Schlapp is also well-liked by the president, in part because her husband is so often on television defending him.
.. A veteran of the George W. Bush White House and the Koch brothers’ Washington operation, Matt Schlapp was elected chair of the American Conservative Union
.. “Matt has successfully been representative of the conservative movement and been able to defend Trump without looking like a sycophant
.. in 2017, when Schlapp invited alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos
.. This year, the conference hosted a range of speakers from what were once the fringes of the Republican Party, and even hosted French nationalist Marion Le Pen.

.. “The sort of personality cult aspect of the Trump presidency … have caused people to have sort of a fire sale on long-established conservative principles,” Goldberg said.

.. “Those conservatives who are dubious about President Trump’s approach have withered down to next to nothing,”

.. “It’s not CPAC’s change of attitude toward Trump, it’s the American conservative activists who have changed their attitude toward Trump. … By the way, we agree with them.”

.. Schlapp’s lobbying firm, brought in more than $1 million in revenue in 2017 — up from $640,000 in 2016 and $600,000 in 2015.

.. “He has professionalized the conservative movement to be the backbone of the Republican president in power,” Lanza said. “I think he would have been equally successful if it were President Jeb or President Cruz

 

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