Update, 2/28/17, 2:39 p.m. PST: Today, February 28th, the New York Times reported that Hope Hicks has resigned from her position as White House communications director. Her last day has not been announced, and aides told the Times that Hicks’s departure was unrelated to her testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on February 27th.
It has been a little more than a year since President Donald Trump was sworn into office and in that time, the 45th president has established a reputation for dishonesty. Before 2017 was over, Trump had told nearly 2,000 falsehoods, according to the Washington Post. And it seems that this pattern of lies extends to other members of the Trump administration as well. On February 27th, the New York Times reported that White House communications director Hope Hicks lies occasionally on behalf of the president as part of her official duties.
During a testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Hicks revealed that Trump sometimes instructed her to tell “white lies.” But the communications director insisted that she had not lied about the ongoing Russia investigation, anonymous sources told the Times. Hicks also reportedly refused to answer questions about Trump’s transition into office or her time in the White House. Other members of Trump’s campaign team, including Steve Bannon, also declined to answer similar questions.
Representative Adam Schiff, the ranking House member on the committee, told CNN that Hicks would not disclose her connection to the misleading statement Donald Trump Jr. published about his 2016 meeting with Russian officials at Trump Tower. Three other unnamed sources told CNN that Hicks testified she had not heard about the meeting until June 2017.
But the nature of Hicks’s “white lies” was not disclosed in the Times article.
This raises the question: What exactly does Hicks consider a “white lie”? As NBC’s Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd pointed out, this revelation means that the public has no way of knowing when Hicks is telling the truth.
And when it comes to the Russia investigation, “white lies” are not an option.
Special counsel Robert Mueller has already indicted one lawyer for lying to investigators, after all, so Hicks and the rest of the administration will have to be honest when speaking to Mueller’s team.
The fact that any member of the White House staff would lie to the public is alarming, but sadly, it’s what we’ve come to expect from the Trump administration. Trump lies about matters as insignificant as how many people watched his State of the Union Address, so it seems like he’ll stretch the truth in any way to make himself look good. But regardless, dishonesty should not be tolerated from the Trump administration. We hope that Hicks’s lies will be revealed soon.