WASHINGTON: Hope Hicks has bid farewell to the White House and the press-shy communications director took a rare moment in the spotlight on her final day in Donald Trump's administration.
But the exit yesterday of the president's most trusted aide, coming one day after yet another Cabinet departure, highlights continuing uncertainty among Trump aides and White House staff about who might be the next to go.
Hicks was given a gracious goodbye by Trump outside the Oval Office. That stands in stark contrast to the White House treatment of David Shulkin, the Veterans Affairs secretary who was fired amid ethics questions.
The departure of Hicks, who worked as a one-woman communications shop during his campaign, came as a surprise to most in the White House — and cast a pall over the West Wing at a trying time for the president. It leaves Trump increasingly without support of the familiar aides who surrounded him during his campaign, and marks the latest in a string of high-level departures in the administration's second year.
Hicks, 29, had a seemingly untouchable role in the West Wing, often viewed more as a surrogate daughter than a staffer. Perhaps most importantly, she served as Trump's glamorous shield and validator, always ready to provide "Mr. Trump" with a smiling dose of positive reinforcement, and controlling reporters' access. She was the fourth person to occupy the position since the president was sworn in, as the Trump White House has set modern records for staff turnover.
Hicks spent three years with Trump -- a long time in Trumpworld -- but even before that, she earned the family's trust by working for the president's daughter Ivanka.