It seems like everyone in the White House comms shop is trying to kill each other in Hope Hicks’ absence.
As Donald Trump’s communications operation has reached a Lord of the Flies level of infighting, the president and many of his staffers find themselves waxing nostalgic about a bygone Hope Hicks era.
Hicks’ departure nearly two months ago left a leadership vacuum in the West Wing that has yet to be filled. Even the contest to replace her was racked by characteristic internal drama and knife-fighting, as press leaks related to two leading contenders to succeed Hicks—White House strategic communications director Mercedes Schlapp and Treasury Department public affairs chief Tony Sayegh—quickly split staffers into competing camps.
More recent leaks have fueled tensions in the White House comms department, with the leak of press aide Kelly Sadler’s cruel comment about Sen. John McCain’s health last week setting off a round of internal recriminations. Details on internal meetings on the persistent problem of press leaks were also subsequently and very quickly leaked to various news outlets.