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Hope Hicks Named Interim White House Communications Director

Hope Hicks will work alongside press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders until a permanent replacement is found.

Hope Hicks, one of President Trump's rarely seen but longest-serving aides, has been named interim White House communications director, filling the position left vacant by Anthony Scaramucci after his 10-day tenure.

Hicks will work alongside press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders until a permanent replacement is found, the White House said. She has been serving as director of strategic communications.

"We will make an announcement on a permanent communications director at the appropriate time," a White House official said.

Hicks is said to be soft-spoken yet fiercely loyal to the president. And while she has remained a constant figure through the tumult that has plagued the administration from the beginning, she has chosen to remain out of the spotlight — a quality some speculate is the key to remaining in the president's good graces and surviving numerous White House purges.

Despite being a Washington novice — the 28-year-old former teen model rose through the ranks of the Trump organization — Hicks has outlasted a long list of political veterans including former communications directors Jason Miller (during the transition), Mike Dubke, Sean Spicer (who also served as press secretary) and Scaramucci.

When asked about future restructuring within the communications department at his first press briefing on July 21, Scaramucci announced, "Dan [Scavino] and Hope Hicks are staying."

"As it relates to the other people in the comms shop, I've got to get to know them," Scaramucci added.

Hicks is a longtime friend of Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, and, according to Politico, is "sometimes treated like an extended family member."

Trump has a pet name for her: The Hopester, while she still refers to the president as Mr. Trump, Politico reports.

And when Spicer, a Catholic, was shut out of a private audience with the pope earlier this year, Hicks was included along with a handful of other aides closest to the president.

Hicks had been perceived as the ultimate gatekeeper to Trump with sweeping authority over who gets to meets with him. Before the retired Marine Gen. John Kelly became the White House chief of staff, it was not unusual for Hicks, whose office is next to the president's, to spontaneously invite reporters into the Oval Office for impromptu and wide-ranging conversations.

After Spicer temporarily served as both communications director and press secretary at the beginning of the Trump White House, Dubke took the director role. He resigned in May, after three months on the job. He had been instrumental in the early stages of shaping the White House responses to crises, including the firing of James Comey as FBI director. Spicer had taken some of those responsibilities back on until Scaramucci was hired.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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