Donald Trump has spent the past several days privately trashing his own senior adviser Hope Hicks to anyone who will listen. He’s decided that the Rob Porter domestic abuse scandal and the John Kelly coverup are somehow Hicks’ fault, which is not shocking, as he typically ends up blaming women for the wrongdoing of men. Here’s the enlightening part: no matter how angry Trump is at Hicks, he’s now publicly kissing up to her – and it’s not difficult to parse why.
Even as several major news outlets continue to report that Trump has been privately bashing Hicks behind closed doors, he’s now releasing a public statement insisting that she’s “absolutely fantastic.” In case that wasn’t emphatic enough, Trump is tacking on that “I could not ask for anything more. Hope is smart, very talented and respected by all.” (link). So why is he doing this? Because he knows he can’t afford to alienate her – particularly not right now.
Just days ago, Trump’s former legal spokesman Mark Corallo accused Hicks of working with Trump with suppress the email evidence that Donald Trump Jr conspired with the Russians to try to influence the outcome of the election. This puts Hicks on the legal hook for felony obstruction of justice. She now has to decide whether to cut a plea deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, or risk going to prison to protect Trump.
If you’re Donald Trump and you’re trying to find a way to convince Hope Hicks not to march into Robert Mueller’s office and cut a deal right now, the worst way to go about that is to trash her behind the scenes to her colleagues. Trump, or perhaps his handlers, have realized a bit too late that the attacks on Hicks were a terrible idea. No wonder Trump is now publicly praising Hicks as if she’s the greatest thing that ever happened. He needs her to not make that plea deal.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report