Hope Hicks to be WH communications director

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WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 22: Hope Hicks, White House director of strategic communications, arrives to a swearing in ceremony of White House senior staff in the East Room of the White House on January 22, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump today mocked protesters who gathered for large demonstrations across the U.S. and the world on Saturday to signal discontent with his leadership, but later offered a more conciliatory tone, saying he recognized such marches as a "hallmark of our democracy." (Photo by Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — A White House official says President Donald Trump’s longtime aide will serve temporarily as White House communications director.

The aide, Hope Hicks, will work with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to help set White House messaging strategy. Word of Hicks’ new role comes as the White House struggles to weather the fallout after Trump again blamed “both sides” for weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, between white supremacists and counter-demonstrators.

The official insisted on anonymity to discuss unannounced personnel matters.

The 28-year-old Hicks worked for the Trump Organization and was Trump’s spokeswoman during the presidential campaign. She’s considered one of the most important players in his inner circle. Her current White House title is director of strategic communications.

The official says a permanent communications director will be named later.

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