After three people tackled the assignment with limited success, the job of keeping President Donald Trump on message has for now fallen to Hope Hicks, a young former public relations aide and political neophyte who entered his orbit not knowing the ride would eventually take her into the cutthroat world of Washington politics.
Word of Hicks’ promotion — she already was director of “strategic” communications at the White House — landed this week just as she and other top Trump aides confronted one of the biggest communications challenges in recent memory.
After Trump went off message and blamed “both sides” for deadly violence between white supremacists and counter-protesters at a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, blowback was sharp and swift. Members of Congress in both parties urged a defiant president to more forcefully denounce the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who marched through the college town. Other lawmakers openly questioned the president’s competence and moral leadership. Business leaders whom Trump, a businessman himself, enjoyed inviting to the White House fled the advisory boards they had agreed to serve on, while leaders of the armed services denounced racism and hatred without naming their commander in chief.
Repairing the breach, or at least keeping it from growing, is among the most immediate tasks facing the 28-year-old native of Greenwich, Connecticut. She succeeds Anthony Scaramucci, another flamboyant New York businessman, whose 11-day tenure as White House communications director ended after an expletive-filled tirade to a reporter about his new office mates.
“Hope is a terrific person and will do a great job. Wishing her the best,” Scaramucci tweeted after the White House announced Hicks’ promotion. She will help shape and steer White House messaging until someone who wants the assignment permanently — who would be the fifth person in less than a year — comes aboard.
Those who have worked with the…