As White House Communications Director Hope Hicks announced her departure from the Trump administration Feb. 28, speculation quickly arose as to who might fill her role, including the possibility of Indian American Raj Shah, who currently serves as the principal deputy press secretary.
Hicks, a former model and one of President Donald Trump’s closest advisors, announced her resignation a day after she testified for eight hours before the House Intelligence Committee. In her testimony, Hicks admitted that she had occasionally been required to tell “little white lies,” though nothing connected to Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Hicks, 29, was reportedly having an affair with former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter, who was asked to resign Feb. 7, when new details emerged about several instances of domestic abuse with his two former wives.
The Washington Post March 1 shortlisted five possible contenders for Hicks’ vacated post; Shah was not listed. The Post named Mercedes Schlapp, White House director of strategic communications, as “the most natural pick.” It also named White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders; Trump aide Kellyanne Conway; CNN commentator Jason Miller; and former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, among others.
Several publications reported that Trump was angry with Shah’s handling of a press conference Feb. 7, when the Porter domestic violence charges were taking form. While Shah appeared to professionally and deftly handle the reporters’ barrage of questions over the Porter scandal, Trump reportedly didn’t like that Shah said that “it’s fair to say we all could have done better dealing with this over the last few days,” reported MediaIte.
Even though the president appears to be irate over the handling of this controversy that has roiled the White House, he is also upset that Shah had the audacity to acknowledge that it could have been dealt with better, reported the news site.
The White House had not announced a replacement for Hicks as of press time March 1.