White House employees have been dropping like rats in a black plague epidemic. Soon the list of names will be too long to be readable on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show’s graphic, which has been tracking former employees. The last person to abandon the great ship Donald Trump, though, was remarkable due to his connections.
Josh Raffel joined the Trump team just last year after a gig in Hollywood. The president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, met Raffel when he represented Kushner through the public relations firm, Hiltzik Strategies. After that, the communications man was in charge of communications at Blumhouse Productions. Kushner recruited him to join the Trump administration.
His first job was to head up communications for the White House Office of American Innovation. He also headed up communications for the Israeli-Palestinian efforts and helped with the National Security Council communications.
Raffel quickly and quietly moved up to the position of White House deputy communications director by last fall. Since then, his job has been to oversee communications that were primarily related to two of the president’s top advisors, Jared Kushner’s and Ivanka Trump’s initiatives.
The senior communications official’s hard-nosed style of defending the couple verged on combative. The two appreciated how he protected them from scrutiny and controversy that surrounded the top White House advisers.
One White House official told Axios that whenever there was a crisis “we call Josh.” That same official also told Axios that he did not envy the senior communications person, because “he is always handling the worst stories.”
Ivanka Trump released a statement which read that Raffel was”honest, passionate, and thoughtful,” and “invaluable,” CBS News reported:
‘Josh is honest, passionate and thoughtful. Whether it was offering strategic guidance on the communications for tax reform or a foreign trip, Josh’s guidance was invaluable. The White House won’t be the same without him.’
Raffel guided the Washington, D.C. newcomers through the political communications maze in a variety of areas ranging from foreign trip to tax reform.
The deputy communications director said the reason he is leaving in two months is due to family obligations in New York. He will go back into the private sector where the bucks are bigger.
Kushner and Trump were not the only ones who praised Raffel’s work. The special representative for international negotiations and Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, said that Raffel was “an integral part,” according to CNN:
‘(He was) an integral part of our peace team, (and) he guided all of us through the processes of communicating serious and complex issues that impact people across the world.’
The White House’s Director of the National Economic Council and top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, praised him for the work he performed during the policy roll-outs. Raffel worked on Donald Trump’s economic agenda and tax overhaul. Cohn said that “he will be missed:”
‘Josh has been a trusted partner as we worked to enact the President’s economic agenda and passed historic tax reform. He is focused and thoughtful in our day-to-day operations and in driving a policy roll-out, and he will be missed.’
Axios first reported Raffel’s upcoming departure.
Featured Image via Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla.