Hill, a leading expert on Russian and Eastern European affairs, was tapped from the Brookings Institution to serve on the National Security Council under Trump in early 2017. Hill, who grew up in a working-class family in rural northern England, wrote that she often felt self-conscious about her clothes and that they made her an outsider in elite spaces.
On her very first day on the job, Hill, who had been up all night tending to her daughter who was sick with a stomach bug and “hadn’t had a wink of sleep,” forgot her bag with her work shoes at home.
Hill expected to only be in orientations and briefings, but found herself being yanked out of orientation by then-National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster.
McMaster informed Hill, on her first day, that she needed to brief the president on a terrorist attack at a subway station in St. Petersburg before Trump placed a condolence call to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Hill wrote that McMaster was “unperturbed” by her casual shoes, writing that for “a man who had presided over a significant tank battle in Iraq and was not contending with political firefights in the White House…women in sneakers were the least of his problems.”
But McMaster told her to “make sure, when we sat down, that my feet were out of the president’s sightline, either under my chair or pressed against the Resolute Desk,” Hill wrote.
In the Oval Office, Hill wrote that Trump didn’t even acknowledge her when she and McMaster walked into the room and had “zero interest” in her presence.
Hill’s footwear likely wouldn’t have gotten the president’s notice if not for his daughter, then-White House advisor Ivanka Trump, who, Hill wrote, “wafted into the room wearing an elaborately lacy two-piece white outfit and alarmingly high stiletto heels as if she were off to a gala.”
“Ivanka sat down right beside me, immediately taking in my black sneakers, which I had failed to conceal under the chair, and flashing me a look of surprise. I was busted,” Hill wrote. “During a break in the afternoon, I went out to buy a pair of shoes to keep in my office at all times.”