Hollywood publicist Josh Raffel has joined the White House Office of American Innovation.
Raffel, 32, previously represented Jared Kushner’s Kushner Companies when he worked for Hiltzik Strategies. Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, has been tasked with injecting ideas from the business world into the federal bureaucracy. Hope Hicks, another Hiltzik veteran, is part of the Trump administration’s communications team.
After leaving Hiltzik in 2015, Raffel ran communications for Blumhouse Productions, the producer of horror hits such as “The Purge” and “Insidious.” In a business studded with profane and controlling mouthpieces, he is well respected among entertainment journalists for his sane, sensible style and his wit. Raffel confirmed his new job to Variety, but declined to offer additional comment.
Raffel will be replaced at Blumhouse by Teri Everett, who had been the top spokesperson for Universal Filmed Entertainment Group until last February. She was replaced by Cindy Gardner. Everett previously was a senior communications executive at Time Inc. and News Corp.
The Office of American Innovation is intended to be non-partisan and is working with several industry leaders such as Elon Musk, Tim Cook, and Bill Gates to make government more efficient and forward-looking. Trump won the presidency in part because he promised to bring an entrepreneurial style to the White House. Kushner’s broad portfolio of assignments — from being tasked with negotiating a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, to engaging in diplomacy with Iraq and China — have raised eyebrows.
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Raffel, who was based in New York and Los Angeles, will relocate to Washington, D.C., for the job. He is expected to begin his new post in the coming weeks.