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Hope Hicks Return Part Of Trump Embrace Of Loyalists As He Rebuilds Post-Impeachment Rate Topic: -----

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 01:25 AM

Hope Hicks Return Part Of Trump Embrace Of Loyalists As He Rebuilds Post-Impeachment

Washington Examiner
by Rob Crilly
February 14, 2020 12:00 AM


President Trump’s early White House was characterized by competing power centers: the generals, such as Michael Flynn; the anti-establishment radicals led by Steve Bannon; the Republican apparatchiks, including Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer; staff from the Trump Organization; and a core of family members.

Three years later, the return of Hope Hicks demonstrates how Trump is running his administration like he ran his business, rewarding longtime loyalists with key positions at the heart of his empire.

If anything, his experience with the Robert Mueller investigation and the impeachment trial has amplified that natural tendency as he builds a team to win reelection.

“He’s endured what he feels were multiple attempts to weaponize the government against him, so, the people who you know and trust become extremely valuable,” said a former White House official.

“I think he’s really reeling from these experiences and wants people around him that he feels that he can count on.”

It is a far cry from the early days, when the administration was marked by internecine warfare. Different factions dizzied each other by butting heads over competing plans for tackling immigration, how to replace Obamacare, and whether to intervene in Syria.

The generals, from Flynn, who lasted less than a month, to national security adviser H.R. McMaster and chief of staff John Kelly, were often cited as the grown-ups in the room, able to bring their global experience to bear on debates. Then, they were ousted one by one.

Priebus and Spicer, who had both arrived from the Republican National Committee, left after six turbulent months.

They were followed a month later by Bannon. His departure was seen as a victory for Kelly, newly installed as chief of staff, as part of an effort to impose order on a fractious West Wing before he, in turn, fell from favor.

Through it all, Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner grew in influence, expanding their portfolios to include some of the president’s signature issues, such as immigration and Middle East peace.

Meanwhile, the likes of Dan Scavino, who joined the Trump campaign at its 2015 launch from the Trump National Golf Club Westchester, show how the president values the presence of people who backed his unlikely tilt at power. Today, Scavino is the White House director of social media with an office just outside the Oval Office in an administration where, as in any other, proximity is power.

Hicks was another early campaign hire, arriving from Ivanka Trump’s clothing line and rising to become White House communications director before leaving in early 2018. For three years, she helped shape Trump’s message, and their close relationship meant many insiders viewed her as something of a surrogate daughter.

When she left in 2018 after getting sucked into Mueller’s Russia investigation, Trump said he hoped she would return. “I will miss having her by my side, but, when she approached me about pursuing other opportunities, I totally understood,” he said. “I am sure we will work together again in the future."

Her return comes shortly after the rehire of John McEntee, the president’s former body man, who joined the Trump campaign in 2015 as a volunteer. He left Trump's orbit three years later amid reports that his frequent gambling meant he could not get the necessary security clearance for his role as personal assistant.

He returns to run the presidential personnel office, or the PPO, a crucial role in an administration that has often struggled to fill vacancies.

Officials said more staffing changes may be coming in the weeks ahead.


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