Raffel originally moved to the White House to be part of Kushner’s Office of American Innovation, eventually becoming the internal point man for Kushner and first daughter Ivanka Trump. In fall 2017, he was promoted to deputy communications director.
Raffel worked on issues both domestic and foreign, overseeing communications for the Israeli-Palestinian file, working closely with Gary Cohn’s NEC on issues like tax reform and assisting Michael Anton at the NSC on a variety of foreign policy issues. As one of the sharpest publicists in Hollywood, it comes as no surprise to hear that Raffel ultimately became the go-to crisis communications counselor for people across President Donald Trump’s administration.
Axios’ Jonathan Swen reported that Raffel, a Democrat who made fast friends in the West Wing, is exiting the position due to family obligations in New York and ultimately will return to the private sector. Kushner and Ivanka Trump have known of Raffel’s plans for some time, and his final day will be sometime during the next two months as he helps with the transition of his responsibilities.
Should Raffel return to show business PR, he will be embraced by both the press and his fellow publicist reps. He was one of the key people behind Blumhouse’s initial promo push for Get Out and Split, and he is known for his passionate pitching and astute knowledge of the industry.
Before Blumhouse, Raffel worked at Hiltzik Strategies, where clients included Kushner Companies. The Office of American Innovation was a new West Wing office formed by President Trump and comprised of former business execs and designed to inject fresh thinking into Washington.
Said Ivanka Trump in a statement: “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.”
Said Cohn: “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 rollout, and he will be missed.”
Axios was the first to report the move, which later was confirmed.