Longtime Trump aide Hope Hicks saw her own vaunted connection with former President Trump wither amid his repeated election fraud claims – and confided he had ‘stopped listening to her’ before the Capitol riot, recently released transcripts reveals.
‘He stopped listening to me a long time ago. It’s very sad though,’ she texted former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway after January 6th, when she determined Trump was squandering the legacy she helped shape as a close inside advisor.
She texted with Conway, another longtime counselor who managed Trump’s 2016 campaign, after 4 pm on January 6th, as the scope of the violence and destruction was coming to light, according to House January 6th committee testimony.
‘This is so awful,’ wrote Hicks, whose damaging testimony featured in the panel’s last public hearing.
‘Yes, it is. I called him. I assume you’re not on the campus?’ Conway responded – indicating other key advisors had noticed her absence.
Hope Hicks was among former President Trump’s closest advisors. She testified that she urged him to stop claiming massive election fraud occurred, and said he ‘stopped listening to me’ long ago
That prompted Hicks to reveal her newfound distance from jump and her decision to stay away from the White House she helped Trump win in 2016 as a campaign spokeswoman who followed him from the Trump Organization.
It was a stark departure for someone who had jumped to national prominence as a glamorous and plugged-in advisor who helped make up part of Trump’s inner circle. The former President had brought her onstage at an October 2020 campaign rally in Florida, hailing her as ‘the great Hope Hicks,’ playing off her name while talking about unity and hope. ‘We want Hope!’ he said. That prompted cheers from a rally crowd of ‘We want Hope!’
Hicks in her testimony traces how within weeks of that event, she was put off by Trump’s repeated claims of election fraud even after networks called the race for Joe Biden and a series of courts tossed out the claims of his allies.
She says she counseled Trump against it January 11, 2020, days after the riot.
‘Is it really as bad as everyone’s making it seem,’ he asked her, she says.
‘Yes. Yes, it is,’ she told him.
‘So, you don’t think I should say it was stolen?’ the former president asked her.
‘And I said “No”,’ she continued. That prompted Trump to tell her: ‘You really hate that, don’t you?’
‘And I said “Yes, I really do.”‘ she testified.
Hicks appeared voluntarily before the House January 6 Committee. Trump brought her on stage at a rally in October 2020. But by Nov. 7, she had determined that he had lost, despite Trump’s claims of fraud
Trump led a crowd in cheers of ‘We want Hope!’ She stopped coming into the White House for weeks after the election
Trump gave Hicks a memorable send-off when she left the White House to join Fox News in 2018
‘This is so awful,’ Hicks wrote former counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway Jan. 6th, 2020. ‘Yes it is. I called him. I assume you’re not on the campus?’ Conway responded
Conway also spoke to the committee, which House Republicans say they will disband on January 3 when they take over the House
Hicks served as White House communications director, then departed to join Fox News as an executive in 2018, returning two years later to rejoin Trump.
The former White House advisor participated in the interview without a subpoena, and shared other information that exposes Trump helming his election overturn effort in increased isolation.
She indicated Trump himself seemed not to completely buy what ‘Kraken’ lawyer Sidney Powell was selling when talking about hacked voting machines and thermostats.
Trump, who was on speakerphone, muted himself and could be heard ‘telling the others in the room, “This does sound crazy, doesn’t it?”‘
Hicks could recall three conversations with Trump about the 2020 presidential election, in October 2021, and March and April of 2022.
In October, following a rally, she told Trump in person it wasn’t ‘helpful talking about the 2020 election and making it such a large portion of the speech content.’
Describing her view immediately after the November 9, she said, after a certain point, ‘once the appropriate legal challenges were pursued, that it was in everyone’s best interest to focus on the accomplishments of the administration and preserve the President’s legacy, rather than to continue down a path which I believed was pointless.’
She brought up November 7, 2020 as the day she made the determination. ‘After [Biden] was declared the winner, in my mind, it was very unlikely that that would be changed,’ she said.
Hicks testified that in her mind there was ‘like a 2- to 3-week, like, grace period we’ll call it’ where Trump could challenge the results through legal means, but then ‘move on.’
she said it was ‘extremely damaging to his legacy and was taking away from everything he accomplished.’
She described as allies Eric Herschmann from the White House counsel’s office as someone who ‘had a very strong sense of reality,’ and said Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner ‘believed that there was an expiration date on the legal challenges.’
In addition to revealing snippets about Trump and his inner circle during Trump’s last days in office, her comments show her dialing back her own role.
She says she was ‘in charge of’ Trump’s schedule before the election.
‘And after November 7th there wasn’t really a process taking place because there were no public-facing events happening.’ She said scheduling shifted to the chief of staff’s office.
She says she didn’t talk to Trump on the 7th, the day the networks made the call.
She describes a November Oval Office meeting where she says she was becoming ‘increasingly concerned that we were damaging his legacy’ with the election fraud claims.
Hicks staffed Trump as part of his 2016 skeleton campaign crew, then joined the White House. She left in 2018 but came back before resigning shortly before his term ended
Describing Trump’s response, she testified that he said: ‘Nobody will care about my legacy if I lose, so that won’t matter. The only thing that matters is winning.’
She says she went on ‘personal leave’ from Nov. 11-Nov. 15, because campaigns are ‘particularly grueling.’
She was in the Oval Office only ‘a handful’ of times between Nov. 6th and Thanksgiving. At one, Trump said ‘How can you concede an election you won?’ she said.
She said she thought Rudy Giuliani ‘did an okay job’ during a press conference at the RNC claiming election fraud. ‘Unfortunately, the distraction from his appearance sort of overshadowed that,’ she said.
She was referring to ‘the situation with what appeared to be hair dye,’ as her questioner put it. But she said lawyers Sidney Powell and Jenna Ellis ‘look nuts.’
She says she was ‘largely out of the loop’ by Thanksgiving and avoided meetings. ‘I just didn’t have a role to play anymore,’ she said.
Asked if she avoided the president, she said ‘I guess to a certain extent.
‘I just didn’t have anything to say,’ she explained.
‘And in terms of being, you know, a close member of the team, I just – you know, i didn’t want to be asked about the election, and he didn’t want to hear what I had to say.
She spoke to him January 8th, when she told him she was leaving in the middle of the following week ‘as the natural end of my time at the White House.’
They spoke by phone January 11th, the day before she left.
‘He asked if I thought that it was really as bad as everyone was making it out to be. And my answer was yes, I thought it was.’
A questioner wanted to know if Trump sounded ‘dismissive of what happened.’
Then Hicks, who had spent years scrutinizing Trump to interpret his moods and demands, gave her own best assessment.
‘I think he was genuinely curious,’ she said.