Inside Donald Trump's relationship with Hope Hicks

On October 2, 2020, President Donald Trump announced that he tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The 45th president and first lady Melania Trump became exposed to the virus after traveling to the first presidential debate against Democrat nominee Joe Biden in Cleveland. According to ABC News, the president and first lady traveled in close quarters aboard Air Force One and Marine One with Hope Hicks, one of Trump's closest advisors. Hicks began showing symptoms the day after the debate and "was also on the plane traveling to Trump's rally in Minnesota on Wednesday night, along with the president's son-in-law and top aide, Jared Kushner, and Dan Scavino, another top White House adviser," reports ABC News. To top it off, Hicks was also photographed not wearing a mask. 

Hicks is one of the highest-profile members of Trump's administration to contract the virus. When news confirmed that she'd tested positive, it was only a matter of time that Trump, too, would test positive for coronavirus. So, why is the president frequently in such close contact with Hicks? Here's everything there is to know about their relationship and why Trump was bound to get COVID-19 if she were to test positive.

They have had a long political relationship

President Donald Trump and Hope Hicks have had an interesting political relationship. BBC states that before Hicks joined Trump's first campaign in 2016, she had zero background in politics. She instead was working in public relations and actually met Trump through his oldest daughter, Ivanka Trump (Ivanka's fashion company was one of Hicks' PR clients at the time). It was while she was working for Ivanka that Trump decided to bring Hicks onto his political team, and she went from helping draft tweets to working as a full-time political press secretary.

Hicks' relationship with Trump would then take a turn when she became the White House communications director after replacing Anthony Scaramucci in August 2017, per BBC. She stepped down from the role in February 2018, after scrutiny arose when she said she told "white lies" for the president during the Russian interference investigation.

However, Hicks didn't stay out of Trump's political life for long. In February 2020, she returned to the White House to work with Jared Kushner, who is Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor. The New York Times reports that her new role is "counselor to the president" and she's involved with Trump's communication strategy and reelection campaign.

With Hicks working closely with Trump again in the middle of prime election season, it's not surprising that if one of them were to get COVID-19, all of them would also catch it in the process.

Donald Trump liked Hope Hick's lack of political knowledge

Hope Hicks took a pretty conventional path to the Oval Office. She was born in Greenwich, Connecticut, and modeled as a child. She eventually majored in English at Southern Methodist University near Dallas, Texas. She then went into Public Relations, where she ended up working for Ivanka Trump's brand, opening the door for her to meet Donald Trump.

Donald Trump told the story of his first meeting with Hicks at a rally (via The New York Times) like this: "I said, 'What do you know about politics?' She said, 'Absolutely nothing.' I say, 'Congratulations, you're into the world of politics.'"

As someone with no political experience before becoming president, it's no surprise that Trump was charmed by this detail about Hicks. She has been behind some of the administration's most notable, and controversial, stunts that those with more experience with political optics likely would have shied away from. For example, The New York Times reported that President Trump's highly scrutinized photo-op in front of St. John's Church in the midst of a protest was the plan of Hope Hicks.

What "white lies" did Hope Hicks tell for President Trump?

In 2018, Hope Hicks was subpoenaed for a nine-hour interview regarding whether President Donald Trump was guilty of obstruction of justice. According to CNN, Hicks admitted to telling "white lies" for the President. Apparently, she meant that she would lie about things like the President being in a meeting when he wasn't to get out of meeting with someone else, but claimed that she had not liked about anything more substantive, like the now-infamous Russia investigation.

Hicks fared considerably better than many of Trump's other allies — like Michael Cohen or Rudy Giuliani — during questions like this, in large part due to her avoidance of her spotlight. When Hicks first exited the White House in March 2018, The New York Times reported that she had never given a single on-air interview during her tenure with the President. And in her role as Communications Directors, Hicks also reportedly drafted both tweets and press releases, adopting Trump's unique communication style to do so. These qualities led her to become Trump's "most trusted aide," with her desk among the closest to the President's in the West Wing.