Alongside Jamie Rubin — the former assistant secretary of state for public affairs in the Clinton administration — Shah will lead Ballard Media Group, a division of Ballard Partners that the company described in a press release as “a bipartisan, full service, multi-disciplinary strategic communications division.”
🚨Big Announcement from our DC Office!🚨
— Ballard Partners (@BallardFirm) January 14, 2019
In a statement included in the press release, Shah referred to “an unrelenting media landscape” and said his team would “provide the strategic communications clients need to navigate these challenges and successfully deliver their message to the right audience.”
Shah coordinated the White House’s communications strategy for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation process with Republicans in Congress.
He was also a key spokesperson for the President and his administration.
For example, when the New York Times revealed that the Trump administration nixed a study showing that refugees provided the government more tax revenue than they took in benefits — and replaced it with a study showing only the costs of accepting refugees, without the revenue they generated — Shah was the public face of the White House’s response.
The report, he said, “shows that refugees with few skills coming from war-torn countries take more government benefits from the Department of Health and Human Services than the average population, and are not a net benefit to the U.S. economy.”
Elsewhere, he justified a Cabinet member’s use of military aircraft (“sometimes an appropriate and necessary use of resources”); undercut an administration climate change assessment that contradicted the President (“the climate has changed and is always changing”); pushed back on a report that the President had asked senators to stop looking into Russian election interference (Trump “at no point has attempted to apply undue influence on committee members”); attacked a judge who thwarted Trump’s attempt to end the DACA program (“the district judge has unwisely intervened in the legislative process”); and defended Michael Cohen’s hush money payment to Stormy Daniels (“false charges are settled outside of court all the time and this is nothing outside the ordinary”).
Shah frequently did damage control for the President, such as when the Washington Post reported that Trump called Haiti and African nations “shithole countries.”
“Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people,” Shah said of the report, without denying Trump’s reported words.
He also played defense after reports were made public that White House staff secretary Rob Porter had been accused of domestic violence by multiple women — long after then-White House chief of staff John Kelly reportedly first learned of the accusations.
“I think it’s fair to say that we all could have done better over the last few hours — or last few days — in dealing with this situation,” Shah said. “But, you know, this was the Rob Porter that I and many others have dealt with.”
Trump reportedly didn’t like that response.
This was all after Shah reportedly referred to Trump as “a deplorable” in a private conversation during the 2016 campaign, when Shah worked at the Republican National Committee.
Yahoo News reported in late December that Shah was having trouble finding post-White House work.