A top White House communications aide who has worked most closely with Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump is leaving the White House in the coming months.
Josh Raffel, who was recruited to the White House by Kushner, has primarily served as a spokesman for Ivanka Trump and Kushner’s White House initiatives, including the Office of American Innovation and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. A White House official said in an email that Raffel had been quietly promoted to deputy communications director in the fall of 2017.
“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,” Ivanka Trump said in a statement.
The official said Raffel will leave within the next two months. The official said he is returning to work in the private sector in New York, where he has “family obligations.”
Axios first reported Raffel’s departure.
Before joining the White House, Raffel headed up communications at Blumhouse Productions and previously represented Kushner through the public relations firm Hiltzik Strategies, where he was previously employed.
Raffel quickly became known both inside and outside the White House for his hard-nosed style, taking a combative stance in defending Kushner and Ivanka Trump from the scrutiny and controversy they have courted in their time at the White House.
Other White House officials who have worked with Raffel also praised his work.
Jason Greenblatt, the special representative for international negotiations, called Raffel “an integral part of our peace team” and said “he guided all of us through the processes of communicating serious and complex issues that impact people across the world.”
Gary Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, noted Raffel’s work in pushing tax reform and said, “he will be missed.”