Hope Hicks
August 07, 2018 04:20 PM

President Donald Trump invited a surprising guest onto Air Force One over the weekend — his former White House communications director Hope Hicks.

The apparent chumminess between the president and his former employee sparked questions of whether a professional reunion is in the works. Hicks added fuel to that fire while aboard, telling reporters off the record that she would consider replacing current Chief of Staff John Kelly if the time was right, Vanity Fair‘s Emily Fox reported.

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Hicks resigned from her White House position in February, so her weekend trip on Air Force One came as a surprise to some — herself included. Hicks was reportedly planning to spend the weekend with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner in New Jersey at the president’s golf club, but when Trump got wind that she would be nearby, he asked her to join him for a rally in Ohio, according to Vanity Fair.

Donald Trump and Hope Hicks
Carolyn Kaster/AP/Shutterstock

Since leaving the White House, Hicks, a onetime Ralph Lauren model, has taken time to think about her professional future. After spending time in Connecticut with her family, she moved to the Upper East Side and started exploring options — which included having lunch with Aryeh Bourkoff, an investment banker who previously talked with Kushner about a Trump TV network during the 2016 presidential campaign, the New York Post reported.

Hicks’ encounter with Trump has also sparked theories about whether their conversations over the weekend could be considered witness tampering.

“Some widely speculated that amidst a week in which Trump was openly talking about the Trump Tower meeting, and privately fretting about his son’s legal exposure, having Hicks on board was, at best, inappropriate, and, at worse, a chance for them to get their stories straight,” Vanity Fair wrote.

(Hicks has been interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and helped draft the original statement on the Trump Tower meeting.)

The Vanity Fair report cited anonymous sources who said that Hicks’ interactions with the Trumps are nothing more than a natural transition from her time in the White House.

“The expectation that she would totally cut herself off from the family cold turkey is unrealistic,” the anonymous source said, adding that “No job is going to be as good as what she came off, so you have to find a way to slow down and come back to reality.”

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