Hogan Gidley is the principal deputy White House press secretary. After Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced that she would be stepping down as press secretary, rumors began to spread that Gidley might be tapped to replace her. So far, these are only rumors, since nobody in the Trump administration has said anything on the record about Sanders’ replacement.
President Trump took to Twitter on June 13 to announce that Sarah Sanders would be stepping down from her job by the end of the month. “After 3 1/2 years, our wonderful Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be leaving the White House at the end of the month and going home to the Great State of Arkansas,” the president said. “She is a very special person with extraordinary talents, who has done an incredible job! I hope she decides to run for Governor of Arkansas – she would be fantastic. Sarah, thank you for a job well done!”
Besides Gidley, former State Department spokesman Heather Nauert and Melania Trump adviser Stephanie Grisham have been discussed as possible replacements for Sanders. So has presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway and White House director of strategic communications Mercedes Schlapp.
Hogan Gidley went to work as deputy White House press secretary in October 2017. In February 2018, he was named special assistant to the president and deputy press secretary.Here’s what you need to know about Hogan Gidley:
1. He Worked for Mike Huckabee When He Was Governor of Arkansas & Says He’s Known Sarah Sanders Since She Was 19 Years Old
Gidley worked as a communications strategist for former Arkansas Governor and presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, Sarah Sanders’ father. He also worked on the campaigns of Rick Santorum and Elizabeth Dole.
During an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN, Gidley was asked about Sarah Sanders. Anderson Cooper asked him about Sanders allegedly “making up” statements about why James Comey was fired. “I worked with Mike Huckabee when he was governor of Arkansas, and I’ve known Sarah Sanders since she was 19 years old. She can well defend herself.” He went on to talk about how much he’s enjoyed working with Sanders.
Gidley has a dog, a Labrador retriever named Toddy, who was a gift from Mike Huckabee. Toddy, named after the Ole Miss fight song, is descended from one of Mike Huckabee’s own dogs.
2. He Grew Up in Arkansas & Graduated from Ole Miss
Gidley, 42, grew up in El Dorado, Arkansas. He attended the University of Mississippi, or Ole Miss. Gidley loves to talk about his university. His Twitter profile has a photo of him wearing an Ole Miss t-shirt. He’s also carrying a turkey and a shotgun.
After he was named deputy press secretary, Gidley told the Clarion Ledger that he plans to hang up “several Ole Miss pieces” in his new office. He also told the paper that he likes to visit Oxford, Mississippi at least once a year for a football game. He praised the university and the”amazing professors that really set my course.”
3. He Used to Be a Statehouse Reporter in Little Rock, Arkansas
Gidley majored in broadcast journalism at the University of Mississippi. After graduation, he went to work for as a television news reporter for KAIT, where he reported on state politics in Arkansas. Gidley dreamed of covering national politics, and he says that’s why he decided to get involved in politics himself. He told GQ that, when he was a young reporter, he decided to approach then-governor Mike Huckabee and ask him for a job.
Gidley said that he was inspired by Chris Matthews, who had worked in politics himself. Gidley told GQ that, even though he’s a Republican, he’s always admired Chris Matthews. He said,
“The reason I left TV is because I wanted to go into politics and get back into TV, because I thought, instead of going market to market to market, I could jump out and do politics and then have more knowledge of what I wanted to cover, which was politics,” he said. “And the reason I did it was Chris Matthews. The reason I got out of TV to get into politics was because I knew Chris Matthews had worked for Tip O’Neill and he was—and now I was a Republican—but he was can’t miss TV. Now this was pre-leg thrill, this was pre-thrill leg here, but he was can’t miss for me.”
4. He’s Been Described as a ‘Health & Fitness Freak’
In 2018, the New York Times Magazine ran a profile of Hogan Gidley by Mark Leibovich. Leibovich was struck by Gidley’s dedication to health and physical fitness, and described him as a “health and fitness freak” who loved to talk about diet and exercise. Leibovich reported that Gidley weighs himself every day and eats on a strict schedule, aiming for a small meal every two hours. He works out five times a week and focuses on a different body part for each workout.
More recently, Gidley came under criticism for some of his Instagram posts made while he was accompanying the president on a trip to the United Kingdom. Gidley posted photos of himself golfing at Trump International Golf Links and Hotel in Doonbeg, Ireland. He also posted a video to Instagram of himself — in slow motion — hitting a golf shot. The post garnered over two thousand views but also drew many angry comments from people who felt that Gidley was enjoying himself at taxpayers’ expense.
One Instagram user commented, “yet another corrupt White House employee wasting tax payer’s $$$$.” Another wrote, “grifters gonna grift.” And another Instagram user wrote, “A commercial for trump’s business? You are all so astonishingly corrupt.”
5. He Said the ‘Mainstream Media’ Has Created More Chaos in the US than Russia
Back in 2018, Gidley was a relatively unknown White House staffer. He found himself in the middle of controversy after he appeared on Fox News. During his appearance, Gidley said, “There are two groups that have created chaos more than the Russians. And that’s the Democrats and the mainstream media.”
The statement angered many people in the mainstream media. Others, too, took offense. General Michael Hayden, the former director of the N.S.A. and the C.I.A., tweeted simply, “Good God Almighty” in response to a tweet promoting the clip of Gidley on Fox.
At the same time RT, the Russian media outlet, tweeted and then retweeted Gidley’s remarks as soon as he had finished speaking.