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Sympathy For The Devil (Hope Hicks Edition)

People who work for Donald Trump calculate the risks and assume them. When they leave his orbit - disgraced or simply exhausted - we don't owe them any sympathy.
Sympathy For The Devil (Hope Hicks Edition)
Trump administration voluntary and involuntary departures. Image from: The Rachel Maddow Show, A-Block, February 28 show.

Rachel Maddow keeps a running list of Trump administration employees who've resigned or been fired (by reason of conscience, corruption, or incompetence). You can find the most recent launch-list in the A-block of her February 28 show (video above).

Mostly consisting of Trump cheerleaders and enablers, like Omarosa Manigault-Newman, Sean Spicer, and Steve Bannon, the list nevertheless includes people like Sally Yates, who was fired for trying to protect the government's processes and integrity from Trump's demands for unquestioning obedience and others, like James Comey, fired for refusing to offer Trump personal loyalty. This list does not include numerous federal agency employees - career civil-service employees or political appointees from previous administrations - who've left because they did not want to work for Trump or implement the policies of the administration, such as some number of the 60% of the senior diplomatic staff who've left the State Department rather than work for Secretary Rex Tillerson.

This week, Maddow added Hope Hicks and Josh Raffel to the list. Raffel was a communication aide to Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. He resigned while Hicks testified to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Hicks resigned a day later.

Hicks was most recently Communications Director for the White House - the fifth Communications Director in the 14 months of the Trump administration. She joined the administration on its first day, following it into office from the Trump presidential campaign and, before that, the Trump Organization.

Like everyone else who works for Trump at this point in his career, after observing his chaotic and repugnant public life, she probably didn't get into his business or political orbit believing it would be a laudable public-interest venture. Trump's career is stained by race-based housing-discrimination, racial and religious insults, bankruptcies, business failures, class-action settlement on allegations of Trump University fraud, and boastful admissions of sexual assault.

No, Ms. Hicks, probably went to work for Ivanka Trump, and then Trump himself, and then his administration, because he represented...opportunity - a life at the epicenter of Trump World.

In seizing her most recent opportunity - to sign on with the Trump administration - Ms. Hicks is no different from, for example,

  • Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, who saw an opportunity to slow - or even end - this country's march toward demographic diversity;
  • Jeff Sessions, who saw an opportunity to roll back progress in civil rights and drug enforcement;
  • Scott Pruitt, who saw an opportunity to gut federal environmental protection laws and practices;
  • Ryan Zinke, who saw an opportunity to open fragile public lands and waters to drilling and mining;
  • Betsy DeVos, who saw an opportunity to cripple, if not outright destroy, public education; and
  • Neil Gorsuch, who saw his opportunity to join the Supreme Court and move it far to the right.

However, Hicks apparently secured her opportunity at a price, because Trump gives nothing away (except verbal abuse). She allegedly participated in drafting a false statement on Donald Trump, Jr.,'s June 2016 meeting with Russians proposing to provide stolen Clinton-campaign emails to the Trump campaign. Hicks also allegedly declared privately that Donald Junior's emails about that meeting would "never get out."

Altogether, she had enough in her Trump-campaign and Trump-administration history to warrant nine hours of questions from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, many of the questions doubtless coming from Russia-curious Democrats. She refused to answer any questions about her time in the Trump administration. She took a 10-minute recess in her interrogation to confer with her attorney before answering a question about whether she lied for Trump. After her break, she admitted to telling "white lies" for her President.

Her immediate reward for limiting her testimony about Trump as much as she could was - reportedly - verbal abuse from Trump:

CNN’s Erin Burnett reported Wednesday that Trump was angry with Hicks following her closed-door testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, in which she reportedly revealed she was sometimes required to tell “white lies” as part of her work in the White House.

Burnett reported one of Trump’s “close allies” told CNN that Trump asked Hicks after her testimony “how she could be so stupid.”

Hicks resigned the following day, inviting speculation about her reasons for her sudden departure. Whatever her motivation for joining Maddow's List of the Departed, her conduct in the Trump campaign and administration has invited attention from Special Counsel Mueller - and also to this question:

What did Ms. Hicks do on the campaign trail and in the White House that she has not admitted?

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