WASHINGTON — Hope Hicks, one of President Trump’s longest serving advisers working in the White House, was formally named communications director on Tuesday, a title that most accurately describes the role she has played for years.
Ms. Hicks’ appointment was one of a handful announced. Mercedes Schlapp, a Republican strategist and former Fox News contributor, will become the senior adviser for strategic communications, adding a new senior staff member to the reshuffled communications team.
It was not immediately clear how Ms. Schlapp’s role would intersect with that of Ms. Hicks and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary.
Jessica Ditto, another campaign hand who has been serving as deputy communications director, is expected to continue in that role.
But Ms. Hicks, who is perhaps the most press-shy member of the Trump administration, has been essentially filling the role of Mr. Trump’s communications director since her days on his campaign, when she was one of the only staff members. Until she took over the communications director role in an interim capacity, she was almost constantly by the president’s side when he traveled, and she held sway over what interviews he gave. Outside of Mr. Trump’s family members and his longtime security chief, Keith Schiller, who will leave the White House in the next few weeks, Ms. Hicks is his most trusted aide.
Other changes that were announced appeared aimed in part at sending a message of continuity to a communications team that has been buffeted by nearly constant change for the past month. Raj Shah, who worked at the Republican National Committee and was seen as close to the previous press secretary, Sean Spicer, was elevated to principal deputy press secretary. Steven Cheung, who worked on the Trump campaign, will be the director of strategic response.
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