Raj Shah, the first Indian-American to hold a top White House Press Office post, has quit to join an arm of a prominent communications and lobbying firm, becoming the latest of several senior officials to leave the Trump administration in recent months. Shah, 34, White House deputy spokesman and a former researcher at the Republican National Committee, was in the administration since president Trump took office in January 2017. “I’m excited to join Brian, Jamie and the top-notch team to launch Ballard Media Group. Our team, with years of proven results, will provide the strategic communications clients need to navigate these challenges and successfully deliver their message to the right audience,” Shah said in his statement.
His portfolio recently included helping prepare Justice Brett M Kavanaugh for his Senate confirmation hearings to the Supreme Court.
Shah will lead the Media Group, the press wing of Ballard Partners, a lobbying firm with offices in Florida and Washington, The New York Times reported.
He will work with Jamie Rubin, a Democrat who was a spokesman for Madeleine Albright, the former secretary of state, the report said, quoting the officials.
Shah’s departure comes as the White House press and communications teams have been depleted. Several aides have moved on to roles at government agencies or have left the Trump administration entirely.
Born in 1984 to Indian parents of Gujarati origin, Shah’s parents moved to Chicago in 1970s and then moved to Connecticut where he was born and raised.
He joined the White House right from the day the Trump administration took charge. He was made the Deputy Communications Director at the White House. Previously, he was director of Opposition Research in the Republican National Committee.
Shah is the latest in a number of top officials to leave the Trump administration.
Former Defence Secretary James Mattis left Trump’s Cabinet last month, after former Attorney General Jeff Sessions was pushed out in November. Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was unceremoniously fired in March and national security adviser H R McMaster was replaced last year.
In a sudden move, Indian-American US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley resigned in October. Ballard Partners said Shah will join the firm as a partner.