Hicks’ sole presence in the office has raised questions about whether she’s helping Trump advance his stated America First agenda – or whether she is simply enabling a president with self-destructive tendencies to hobble the entire administration, and, ultimately, himself.

In the chaotic West Wing, rattled again on Friday by the surprise resignation of press secretary Sean Spicer, Hicks has been a stable, consistent presence at Trump’s side – her loyalty never in question, her status in the president’s inner circle never in jeopardy, her back never being stabbed by colleagues in the snakepit work environment. One person described Hicks, who worked for the Trump Organization before joining the campaign at its start, as a “souvenir from Trump Tower,” i.e. someone who has made the journey with the president from his old life, with whom he can wax nostalgic about the good old days in New York…

Internally, she has joked that her title is not about strategically communicating with the press – it’s about strategically communicating with the president. She knows that telling Trump what not to say, ahead of an interview, is a losing proposition. She has accepted that he will say things that people find shocking, or upsetting – but she long ago made the decision that she deeply believes in Trump as a leader, and that she wasn’t going to change or judge a 70-year-old man whose career highs have been based on trusting his own instincts.