Raj Shah Will Pause WH Press Job To Help SCOTUS Nominee On Capitol Hill

on February 22, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America

The White House announced Monday that principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah will take leave from that role to oversee the “communications, strategy and messaging coordination with Capitol Hill allies” for President Donald Trump’s next nominee to the Supreme Court.

In a statement, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also said White House Counsel Don McGahn’s office would “oversee the selection and overall confirmation process,” as it did with Trump’s first nominee, Justice Neil Gorsuch. (Read the full statement below.)

Shah sometimes fills in for Sanders at press briefings, and he was one of the loudest voices in the White House after word leaked that former White House staffer Kelly Sadler had joked that Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) opposition to CIA Director Gina Haspel’s nomination didn’t matter because McCain was “dying anyway.”

In any workplace, Shah said at one point, “if you aren’t able in internal meetings to speak your mind, or convey thoughts or say anything that you feel without feeling like your colleagues will betray you, that creates a very difficult work environment.”

Read Sanders’ Tuesday statement below:

The White House Counsel’s Office, led by Don McGahn, will again oversee the selection and overall confirmation process.

Raj Shah will oversee communications, strategy and messaging coordination with Capitol Hill allies. He will take leave from his role as Principal Deputy Press Secretary to work on the Supreme Court nomination full time.

Justin Clark, in his position as director of the the Office of Public Liaison, will oversee White House outreach with  key constituencies, coalitions, grassroots organizations and allies. 

The White House Counsel’s office is overseeing a team of White House and Administration personnel from offices within the EEOB. Teams of attorneys from the White House Counsel’s Office and Department of Justice are working to ensure the President has all the information he needs to choose his nominee. The Department of Justice is fully engaged to support the nomination and confirmation efforts.

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