Who Is Hope Hicks? All Eyes Are On Donald Trump’s 27-Year-Old Press Secretary
Donald Trump is many things — racist, sexist, vulgar, short-fingered, and thin-skinned, to name a few — but he’s arguably best known for his penchant for loud, rambling comments that often make no sense. So, you’ll understand the internet’s collective shock Monday when GQ released a lengthy profile on Hope Hicks, Trump’s 27-year-old press secretary, who is, surprisingly enough, a woman of few words and zero prior political experience in a cutthroat inner circle dominated by brazen men.
Until Monday morning, this inner circle was led by Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandrowski, whose wild temper and violent impulses should give you an idea of the kind of men at Trump’s side, and just how out of place Hicks is. Yet despite her youth and lack of experience, Hicks is clearly doing something right, impressively lasting on a turbulent presidential campaign that has seen many right-hand men come and go over the course of this past year, and earning generous praise from her boss, a man known for his condescending outlook on women (especially working women). However, as Anna Merlan at Jezebel points out, the fact that Hicks is prized for being “docile, pretty, and very, very quiet” says a lot about Trump and women.
Hicks, a graduate of Southern Methodist University (a school known for its conservative atmosphere), formerly worked as a Ralph Lauren model and once modeled for Ivanka Trump’s fashion line before getting involved in PR and becoming Trump’s communications director. Hicks began working for Hiltzik Strategies public relations firm and worked with Trump and his resorts, as well as his daughter’s fashion line. Her former lacrosse coach, Liz Holmes, told The Washington Post Hicks “was the ultimate team player and competitor.”
Hicks first got entangled in the freak show that has been Trump’s presidential campaign when Lewandowski told her she couldn’t work for both Trump’s political and corporate branches in 2015. When Hicks initially declined to work on Trump’s presidential campaign, Lewandowski reportedly told her, “You made a big fucking mistake; you’re fucking dead to me,” Trump’s former political adviser, Sam Nunberg, told GQ’s Olivia Nuzzi. Nunberg alleges that the since-fired campaign manager “made her cry a bunch of times.” She reconsidered when Trump personally invited her to work as his press secretary.
According to GQ, her relationship with Lewandowski became friendly enough, but the two were seen having a very loud public argument on a Manhattan street back in May. Hicks was allegedly screaming at the 42-year-old former campaign manager with her fists clenched, showing that while she might not be too fond of interviews and talking with the press, she’s not one to shy away from a good ol’ screaming match every now and then. Respect.
Hicks, who is known for being “irked” by and perpetually wary of reporters inquiring after Trump “often … doesn’t respond.” As Nuzzi writes, “she doesn’t mind upsetting the media and harbors no reverence for the civic duties of a free press.” This isn’t exactly surprising considering Trump’s frankly terrible relationship with the press, banning newspapers from covering his campaign left and right, confining reporters at his rallies to bizarrely small pens, and shit-talking journalists in general. They’re probably both painfully aware that truth and facts in general do not make Trump look good.
And yet for all her distrust of and apparent unwillingness to communicate with the media, Trump generously praised her efficiency when Hicks arranged for Nuzzi to discuss the press secretary with him (rather than participate in the interview herself), while also characteristically boasting his own popularity. Nuzzi wrote:
“‘If you see her phone going’—he raised both hands and mimicked Hicks answering several devices—’This is Hope. This is Hope. This is Hope.’ He hung up the make-believe phones. ‘She gets a call a minute, probably,’ he said, seemingly pleased with this antiquated barometer of his own popularity.”
Hicks most recently responded to press inquiries about the Trump campaign’s decision to fire Lewandowski as it struggles to gain ground ahead of the general election with a statement that said, “The campaign is grateful to Corey for his hard work and dedication and we wish him the best in the future.”
While the fact that she willingly works for such a despicable human being doesn’t exactly make Hicks likable to me, I acknowledge she has an insanely difficult job clarifying all of Trump’s rash, often ambiguous statements about everything from abortion to immigration. She might not say too much herself, but the fact that she’s still around through every scandal and controversy speaks volumes.