Longtime Trump aide and White House communications director Hope Hicks plans to resign in the coming weeks, NBC News confirmed Wednesday.
The news comes a day after Hicks, 29, spent hours testifying before the House Intelligence Committee in its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Hicks told lawmakers she sometimes had to tell white lies in her job, but did not lie about matters related to the probe, according to The New York Times.
She considered stepping down for months, according to the Times, which first reported the news.
The communications director, who previously worked in public relations for Ivanka Trump’s clothing brand, signed on early to President Donald Trump‘s small presidential campaign. She eventually rose to one of the top positions in the White House.
Trump issued a statement praising Hicks. He said she came to him about “pursuing other opportunities.”
“Hope is outstanding and has done great work for the last three years. She is as smart and thoughtful as they come, a truly great person. I will miss having her by my side but when she approached me about pursuing other opportunities, I totally understood. I am sure we will work together again in the future.”
Hicks, who rarely spoke publicly, had the difficult task of controlling the message from an often chaotic White House. For much of Trump’s presidential campaign she led its response to press inquiries, and the president reportedly had great trust in her.
Tensions had risen in the White House in recent weeks as chief of staff John Kelly aimed to crack down on access to highly classified information after domestic abuse allegations against Rob Porter, former staff secretary. Porter was one of numerous White House staffers operating under a temporary security clearance, and others like Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner recently had their clearances downgraded. Hicks reportedly dated Porter.
Since Trump took office in January 2017, Michael Dubke, Sean Spicer and Anthony Scaramucci also left the role of White House communications director. Spicer, the former press secretary, held the position in an acting capacity.