While President Donald Trump’s appearance at a campaign rally in Lewis Center, Ohio, drew crowds Saturday, Hope Hicks was also at the center of attention after she was spotted traveling with President Donald Trump aboard Air Force One. Setting off a flurry of rumors and speculation, the former White House communications director was seen among a handful of aides for the Trump administration.
The group boarded Air Force One at an airport located in Morristown, New Jersey just ahead of President Trump’s departure to the campaign rally held for Republican congressional candidate Troy Balderson where President Trump was offering his endorsement. Hicks was then seen disembarking from Air Force One when the plane landed at the John Glenn Columbus International Airport in Ohio. Her appearance caused the rumor mill to go wild.
SPOTTED at Morristown, NJ airport ahead of Air Force One departure for Trump’s Ohio rally: Hope Hicks pic.twitter.com/eZgvASvfwj
— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) August 4, 2018
A close friend of President Trump’s oldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, Hicks resigned from her position in February 2018 as the White House communications director after serving for just six months. Prior to that, Hicks was an aide for the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election. Prior to working for the Trump campaign, Hicks did public relations work for Ivanka.
AOL reports Hicks “planned to spend her weekend at one of Trump’s golf courses in New Jersey with first daughter Ivanka Trump and Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, according to sources cited in a Vanity Fair report published on Monday.
But after Trump found out Hicks was in town, he asked her to join him at the rally in Lewis Center, Ohio, sources reportedly told Vanity Fair’s Emily Jane Fox.
Aboard Air Force One, Hicks talked off-the-record to reporters and even jokingly took suggestions about her career prospects.
Hope Hicks exits Air Force One. (Photo: Leah Millis/Reuters) pic.twitter.com/J4EIpbZX3K
— Colin Campbell (@colincampbell) August 4, 2018
Hicks also said that if the timing was right, she would consider becoming Trump’s chief of staff, a position currently held by John Kelly. Kelly is expected to stay on board until 2020, and reportedly turned down Trump’s request to stay for a possible second term.
‘She’s just trying to live her life, and if everyone’s going to be following her every move anyway, why not do what she wants to do?’ a person familiar with the situation told Vanity Fair. ‘The expectation that she would totally cut herself off from the family cold turkey is unrealistic.’
An unnamed sourced familiar with Hicks’ thinking told the publication Hicks is working through her transition from the high-flying role she held in the White House.
‘If she’s going to be scrutinized anyway, she may as well enjoy herself,’ the person said. ‘No job is going to be as good as what she came off of, so you have to find a way to slow down and come back to reality.’
‘There’s opportunities for her in finance-related jobs,’ the person added. ‘The biggest issue is finding a place where she feels comfortable. There aren’t that many places where she feels safe and secure.'”
Hicks’ abrupt resignation came amid a tsunami of tabloid coverage of her romance with Rob Porter, who resigned as staff secretary to President Trump in February 2018 after past domestic abuse allegations by his two ex-wives surfaced. While the notoriously private Hicks did not explain why she resigned, there was rampant speculation that she was upset at becoming the constant target of vicious tabloid gossip because of her boyfriend’s past.
Much to her credit, upon leaving the women currently serving in the Trump White House spoke highly of Hicks, heaped praise on her, as well as thanking her for her friendship and hard work. Upon her departure Hicks’ said in her departing statement – “There are no words to adequately express my gratitude to President Trump. I wish the President and his administration the very best as he continues to lead our country.”
In response to Hicks’ departing announcement, President Trump himself heaped praise upon the 29-year-old calling her “a truly great person.” President Trump said – “Hope is outstanding and has done great work for the last three years. She is as smart and thoughtful as they come, a truly great person. I will miss having her by my side but when she approached me about pursuing other opportunities, I totally understood.”
Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly issued his own statement separately, describing Hicks as “strategic, poised and wise beyond her years.” Kelly said – “She has served her country with great distinction. To say that she will be missed is an understatement.”
When Kelly leaves, will Hicks be a contender for the job?
Zero Hedge reports – “The Daily Mail and Vanity Fair are the latest publications to jump on the Hicks bandwagon, reporting that Hicks has told confidants that she would absolutely be interested in the position, and that her name is rising up the list of possible candidates, which also includes Nick Ayers, Vice President Pence’s chief of staff, and Mick Mulvaney, the OMB chief who is essentially the Elon Musk of the Trump administration (a reference to his multiple roles running OMB and serving as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau).
A source close to Hicks told the publication that she has told people she is open to the job if Trump asked, but is not pursuing it. Hicks declined to comment.
Meanwhile, supporters are lobbying for Hicks, a longtime Trump spokeswoman from both his private business and the campaign, to return to the administration after stepping down as White House Communications Director in March.
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) August 4, 2018
“Unlike any other candidate he may be considering, she doesn’t need a learning curve and possesses the most important qualities that the president cares about: loyalty, independence, and a calming presence during chaos,” conservative commentator Ryan Girdusky wrote for the Washington Examiner.
VF added that Hicks is being actively discussed, citing two sources from inside the administration.
Another dark-horse candidate is Hope Hicks. Two sources say Hicks’s name is being discussed inside the White House. According to a source close to Hicks, she has told people she is open to the job if Trump asked, but is not pursuing it. When I reached out, she declined to comment.
Hicks’ chances are bolstered by the fact that she’s an unabashed Trump loyalist, and would reportedly “help Trump connect with his base.”
In addition, hiring Hicks would be a historic move of sorts. She would be the first female White House chief of staff, as well as the youngest – helping Trump swat away critics who’ve accused him of being a misogynist. The president himself has helped stoke rumors by telling reporters that he’d love for Hicks to return to the White House, adding that “everybody misses” her.
“I love Hope.. I think everybody misses it, I think when they leave for a while,” Trump told reporters. “Many people would like to come back. Look, there is nothing more exciting than what we’re doing.”