“Full Frontal” host Samantha Bee has been tracking Hope Hicks, which is a complicated undertaking. Perhaps the most ironic choice of communications director in the history of the White House, Hicks gained fame for her minimal communication. The pattern took hold even before Donald Trump secured the presidency: For a June 2016 story by Olivia Nuzzi in GQ, Hicks declined an interview request. So another arrangement surfaced. “I could talk about her with Donald Trump, in front of her,” wrote Nuzzi.
The keep-your-head-down strategy meant little publicity for Hicks during the Sean Spicer days and the Anthony Scaramucci debacle, after which she was elevated to communications director. Somehow Forbes managed to get some on-the-record time with her, perhaps because it was placing her in its “30 under 30” feature. An example:
Dream mentor: President-Elect Donald Trump
Define success: Liking yourself and what you do
Favorite app: Uber
Favorite take out order: Coffee
Go-to gadget: Mophie
And when she was asked by Forbes what were her best and worst days on the campaign, she came up with this response: “Best days were election days, when we won.” Not to mention this exchange:
FORBES: Do you have someone, like, a dream client for down the road?
HICKS: Yes, Donald Trump. He’s everything.
FORBES: He’s the dream client?
HICKS: There’s nobody else.
FORBES: No one?
Perhaps that MO put Hicks on the hit list for Bee, the candid late-night host on TBS. “Trump’s communications director is on her way out,” said Bee on her Wednesday-night program, referring to Hicks slow-rolling resignation. “I never talked much about Hope because unlike every other member of the Trump orbit, she doesn’t careen onto our television screens lobbing lies and racial invective every damn day, but that doesn’t mean she should get a pass.”
Citing a brand-new profile by Nuzzi — this one in New York magazine — Bee noted that Hicks “doesn’t particularly like politics. Reportedly, she only left the White House because she hated the personal infighting, not because of, say, Charlottesville — but not before baking cookies for her co-workers with notes in silver gel-pen.”
More: “Hope Hicks, thanks to your force field of bland, pretty whiteness, you’ll probably escape this nightmare presidency unscathed. You’ll disappear into the nice, wealthy anonymity in a nice town somewhere and someday you’ll go to the gates of the nice, white Protestant heaven where St. Peter will laugh in your face and say, ‘You think you’re getting in here? You helped burn down democracy, b—-. Get your ass downstairs.'”
Late-night satirical accountability journalism television, right there. There’s a strain of thought that serving under President Trump, perhaps to save the country from his impulses, is a noble deployment of your professional talents. Maybe. But think about these words from GOP strategist Tim Miller: “A good rule of thumb is that if you are a political appointee and there would be no material impact on the national welfare if Corey Lewandowski replaced you, you are not a public servant. You are just another red hatted, red pilled foot soldier for Donald Trump.”
Don’t be so confident, Samantha Bee. Hicks isn’t escaping anything. As a famous photograph memorializes, Hicks in late February testified before the House Intelligence Committee, where she acknowledged telling “white lies” on behalf of the president. And though she’s not inclined to sit for interviews with journalists, she did meet with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s team in December. Do not forget that Hicks was present for the formulation of a misleading statement regarding a pivotal meeting between Trump campaign officials and Russians that took place in Trump Tower during the presidential campaign in June 2016.
So: Between the efforts of the Mueller team, investigative journalists/Nuzzi — who seems to have a continuing interest in this tragic story line — Hicks will stave off disappearance for some time yet. Should those entities fall down on the job, the DailyMail.com has carved out its own Hicks beat, complete with paparazzi shots and bona fide scoops. Its latest, from Thursday: “Trump’s billionaire friends ‘wanted to be fixed up with Hope Hicks, but the president refused to hook them up’, a new book claims.”