Who Wants A Politico Puff Piece On Hope Hicks? WAIT, WHERE ARE YOU GOING?
Hope Hicks returned to the White House in February as a “counselor to the president." It's not been a roaring success. Hicks slinked back from California shortly after Donald Trump skated on impeachment charges, which might turn out to have been the high point of Trump's last -- we hope -- year in office. She now reports to Jared Kushner, whose brain trust has only bungled everything it's touched regarding the COVID-19 response.
Politico reports that Hicks “urged the president to act as a frontman for the coronavirus crisis," and unless the coronavirus crisis is a thrash metal band, that was an incredibly stupid idea. She believed the president, who let's not forget is Donald Trump, "could offer calming messages, critical health information and important updates on the progress of the White House's response efforts." Is she trying to undermine him? Trump was better off just letting Dr. Anthony Fauci speak while nodding sagely in the distance or repeating whatever Dr. Deborah Birx said as if it was his own idea. Men have done this to women at business meetings for decades. Instead, the president's pitching Trump Brand COVID-19 Bleach Away.
It's an approach in perpetual flux, thanks largely to a mercurial president who acts on his own instincts, prefers the spotlight in the crisis and offers up rhetoric often designed more for his base than the masses in the midst of an unprecedented situation.
That's cute. The media is still soft-selling Trump's bananapants behavior: He's just “mercurial," like an 19th Century romantic poet. Meanwhile, Trump appears to be just a few press briefings away from recommending we ingest mercury: The 'rona won't stand a chance!
This Politico piece is so shamelessly flattering you'd think Hicks wrote it herself. She's trying her darnedest to manage chaos with a capital "C," which rhymes with "T" and stands for "Trump." Now that the daily coronavirus briefings have proven a (lethal) disaster, Hicks needs to "position" Trump so that Americans confined to their homes still view him as the man in charge, but she also has to "guard" the president from too much disinfecting sunlight. It's a "political risk" whenever Trump speaks during a crisis, because that only reminds voters that Trump is the president during a fucking crisis.
Tony Sayegh, a former assistant secretary of the Treasury and a good buddy of Hicks's, was quoted saying this nonsense:
[Hicks] understands the president is the message. It cannot be outsourced to anyone. [Trump] is at his strongest when he is communicating directly with the public. Her instincts are impeccable and lead to good decisions."
That's just ... wrong. Trump's poll numbers have sunk along with the nation's hopes. It could be because voters are trapped with their families and cranky, but it's more likely that whenever they see Trump on TV, he's talking crazy. If Hicks is, as reported, the “key figure" in placing Trump “front and center" at the coronavirus briefings, she has failed miserably to protect the president from his biggest weakness, himself.
Eventually, the Politico profile breaks down into a pity party. Hicks had returned to DC because she supposedly missed "the pace and dynamism" of the White House, but no one told her the world was about to end. She expected to “travel and offer advice" for Trump's re-election campaign, and a second Trump term seemed possible back when people had “jobs." Hicks is given credit for recognizing that the “whole government" needed to focus on the coronavirus, and you're probably like, “Really? Hope Hicks had to tell them this?"
Check out these LinkedIn testimonials planted in the piece:
With her quick-witted sense of humor, [Hicks] tends to get along with the majority of staffers inside the backbiting White House, and she can deliver advice to the president in an unfiltered way without angering him because Trump trusts her and views her like another daughter or member of his family.
There is zero evidence that Hope Hicks is funny. This is Hope Hicks.
Meet Hope Hicks, Donald Trump's Go-To Gal | Forbes www.youtube.com
See? That wasn't SNL's Kate McKinnon. Maybe she's a clever punner or something, and that's what brings smiles to the backstabbing, dysfunctional White House.
While working at the White House, Hicks is known to rise early (a former White House official said she gets up at 4 a.m.) and stay late, well past the evening briefings. She's not known to have any strong political views or pet policy projects.
She's an empty vessel who enables evil but she's punctual and goal-oriented! Someone who willingly works for a xenophobic racist might have political views. Imagine a Politico article making a similar claim about a young black woman who worked for Louis Farrakhan.
We're done here.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).