White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, one of President Donald Trump’s most loyal aides, announced her resignation on Wednesday — just one day after she faced questions from a House committee investigating potential Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign.
“There are no words to adequately express my gratitude to President Trump,” Hicks said in a statement provided by the White House. “I wish the President and his administration the very best as he continues to lead our country.”
She did not indicate what she plans to do next.
A source tells PEOPLE that Hicks felt “it was time to resign.”
“She has been incredibly loyal to him for a long time but its been a tough few years and she had enough. She needed to make a change after everything she has been through,” says the source.
Hicks, 29, the youngest White House communications director in history, reportedly declined to answer most of the questions posed to her during the eight-hour, closed door meeting with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday — but did admit that she had told white lies for the president, according to The New York Times.
The Times also reported that multiple White House aides claimed Hicks’ resignation is unrelated to her appearance in front of the House committee, and that she had told several people in the days preceding the meeting of her plans to leave the job.
President Trump praised Hicks in a statement Wednesday — and noted that she is interested to pursue “other opportunities.”
“Hope is outstanding and has done great work for the last three years. She is as smart and thoughtful as they come, a truly great person. I will miss having her by my side but when she approached me about pursuing other opportunities, I totally understood. I am sure we will work together again in the future,” he said.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly also spoke glowingly of Hicks in a statement.
“When I became Chief of Staff, I quickly realized what so many have learned about Hope – she is strategic, poised and wise beyond her years. She became a trusted adviser and counselor and did a tremendous job overseeing the communications for the President’s agenda including the passage of historic tax reform. She has served her country with great distinction. To say that she will be missed, is an understatement,” he said.
Hicks, a onetime model, was a political novice before Trump tapped her to be press secretary of his burgeoning presidential campaign in January 2015. He met Hicks through daughter Ivanka, who hired the Greenwich, Connecticut native to work on her brand.
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Hicks, who generally kept a low profile and has no social media presence, made headlines earlier this month when it was revealed that she was dating White House aide Rob Porter, who is accused of physically abused his two ex-wives. She was also reportedly romantically linked to former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
The source tells PEOPLE it appears Porter and Hicks have parted ways, but their future is “unclear.”
- with reporting by CHARLOTTE TRIGGS