Hope Hicks, the White House official most responsible for guarding President Trump's public image, will leave the White House, officials said Wednesday.
Hicks, 29, was the fourth communication director of the Trump White House and the longest-serving — after the often chaotic tenures of Sean Spicer, Michael Dubke and Anthony Scaramucci.
The resignation was first reported by The New York Times.
She worked for Trump inside and outside the White House longer than any other senior administration official — going to work at the Trump Organization in 2014 and as the spokeswoman of his presidential campaign in 2015. Before that, she was a fashion model who came into Trump's orbit through work for his daughter Ivanka's fashion line.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the resignation will take effect in the coming weeks or months. "There is no definitive timeline,” she said.
In the West Wing on Wednesday afternoon, applause could be heard in Sanders’ office as Hicks spoke to her staff about her departure.
The announcement came the day after Hicks declined to answer questions from a House committee investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian agents during the 2016 presidential election. Various accounts of that testimony — in which she reportedly said she often told white lies on behalf of the president — could have undermined her credibility with the media.
Her departure follows the resignation of deputy communication director Josh Raffel, who represented daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner with the media.
A Feb. 1 story in a British tabloid linked Hicks romantically with Rob Porter — the White House staff secretary who resigned amid reports his security clearance was held up over allegations of domestic violence.
Sanders said the departure had been in the works for a while and was unrelated to her congressional appearance. "It’s not like it happened overnight,” Sanders said. “Don’t try to make this a scandal; it’s not.”
"Hope is outstanding and has done great work for the last three years," Trump said in a written statement. "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."
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly called Hicks "strategic, poised and wise beyond her years."
"To say that she will be missed is an understatement," Kelly said.
Hicks released a statement saying, "There are no words to adequately express my gratitude to President Trump."