Speed Reads

Profiles in Trump

Trump communications chief Hope Hicks is a PR pro. Her mentor was Harvey Weinstein's main publicist.

Yes, White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, 29, is a "former model," appearing in Ralph Lauren ads and modeling clothes for Ivanka Trump's brand, says Virginia Heffernan at the Los Angeles Times, but modeling is not "Hicks' chief qualification for her job with Trump. She's a publicist to the bone." Trained in a "fierce Manhattan PR shop," Hicks comes by her profession honestly, Heffernan says — her grandfather ran public relations and advertising at Texaco, and her father, Paul Hicks III, oversaw publicity for the NFL before landing at a Democratic communications firm, the Glover Park Group.

Both father and grandfather worked to smooth out unsavory stories for their clients — while her grandfather, Paul Hicks Jr., was at Texaco, it "went bankrupt — and in 1990 entered an unusual joint venture with the Soviet oil industry," Heffernan recounts. And Hope Hicks' mentor prepared her well for working with President Trump, she adds:

Complex situations are the Hicks family business. Moreover, when it comes to protecting clients in chronic crisis, she was trained by the best: Matthew Hiltzik, who introduced her to the Trumps. And Hiltzik made his bones as chief publicist for, wait for it, Harvey Weinstein and Miramax. Hiltzik knows from damage control. [Los Angeles Times]

Hicks is in the spotlight now, thanks to reports that she suggested burying inculpatory emails from Donald Trump Jr., but as long as she doesn't lie to the FBI or Special Counsel Robert Mueller, she might be fine, Heffernan says. "We know it's a crime to lie to Mueller. But, as Hope Hicks knows — and as her father and her father's father knew — lying to the media is traditionally called PR." You can learn more about Hicks, who prefers to operate behind the scenes, at the Los Angeles Times.