trump and staff on air force one
Credit: The White House/Wikimedia Commons

Olivia Nuzzi has written a wonderful profile on Hope Hicks focusing on her decision to resign from her positions in the White House. It’s filled with juicy palace intrigue but it doesn’t directly address what its headline promises to tell us, which is what Hicks might know that actually matters. There are probably many things of importance that she doesn’t know, mainly because they predate her time working side-by-side with Donald Trump. But even in those areas, she must have learned how the president and his inner circle view much of that history and many of those controversies. After all, she hasn’t just been within earshot of the president for most of the last three years, she’s actually controlled his email account.

As you go through Nuzzi’s profile, it might be tempting to feel sympathy for Hicks. She didn’t put a lot of thought into joining Trump’s political campaign, merely taking the invitation as an opportunity to do something interesting for a year or so. Unlike most of Trump’s entourage, she hasn’t treated everyone she interacts with as a means to an end, or left a swath of discredited lies and hurt feelings from her interactions with the press.  She was carved up in the White House by some of the most unsympathetic people you will ever find, including Trump allies too damaged to actually work there and private investigators working for the British tabloid press.

But, in the end, there are two things about Hicks that really aren’t forgivable. The first is her taste in people and judgement of character.

She had made her choices knowingly, even if she couldn’t know where they’d lead her. But she believed Trump was a good person, and she was angered that his critics didn’t seem open to the parts of his personality that would lead them to believe the same. To Hicks, the president’s policies were secondary considerations — the man himself came first. And at the end of the day, she really liked him. “Part of it is because of the proximity,” a source close to her said, “part of it is human nature.”

And the other is her unwavering loyalty to a man who clearly doesn’t deserve it instead of to a nation that hopefully does.

“She is the one person he thinks is totally on his side. And I happen to think that he’s right,” the source who meets regularly with the president told me…

…The source added, “Hope’s never gonna write the memoir. She has no political aspirations. She doesn’t particularly like politics. She’s loyal to Mr. Trump.”

Not to put too fine of a point on it, but Donald Trump is pretty close to the worst person in America. To find worse, you need to visit our many fine penitentiaries and look for the less savory characters. You’ll want to talk to the folks who cheated little old ladies out of their retirement money or the ones who used armies of lawyers to destroy small contractors and intimidate women whom they’d sexually assaulted. Ideally, you’ll be looking for someone who never once laughed in their entire lives unless it was at someone else’s expense. You’ll want to find someone who is more boastful, narcissistic and vindictive than anyone you’ve ever met or even read about. I could go on in this vein for a long time, but you get the point. If Hope Hicks thinks that Donald Trump is a good person and that we just can’t see it, then there’s clearly something seriously wrong with her. If she hasn’t learned otherwise after serving the man for three years, and she’s still more loyal to him than to her country, then it’s impossible to have sympathy for her.

Maybe, simply by not being next to Trump to keep him from self-destructing, she’ll bring this presidency down and put a halt to our long national nightmare, but a more admirable path would be to march down to Robert Mueller’s shop and tell him what he needs to know.

Until then, I don’t and won’t feel sorry for her. And if we enter into a full-blown constitutional or military crisis and Hicks is still on Trump’s side, she’ll be responsible for that and suffer the judgment of history.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at