|White House Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Communications for Research|
January 20, 2017
|Born||c. 1985 (age 31–32)|
|Education||Cornell University BA government, 2006.|
Raj Shah (born c. 1985) formerly in charge of opposition research at the RNC, was named in January 2017 to the then-incoming Trump Administration as a Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Communications for Research in the White House Communications Director's office. He was in his early 30s when he took his position in the White House.
Shah's parents immigrated to the US from Mumbai with origins in Gujarat, India. His father came to the US for studies in the 1970s, then moved back to India. After their marriage, his father and mother returned to the US in late '70s, living first in Chicago and then in Connecticut, he an engineer, she a dentist. Shah was born and raised in Connecticut.
Shah volunteered in Bridgeport for Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) during high school and interned for Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) and others in Washington as his interest in politics developed. In an interview with his hometown paper after appointment to the White House in 2016, Shah said 9-11 happened when he was a senior in high school. He found he wasn't agreeing with Democrats in his family and whom he met in internships, cast his first vote for George W. Bush in 2004, and interned in the White House in 2005.
By the 2012 presidential election cycle, Shah was deputy research director at the RNC and he said in that job "he learned what not to do in the 2016 election". He worked with campaign staff and manager of the Mitt Romney campaign and others to plan how, particularly, to try to defeat Hillary Clinton well before she announced she was running in 2016. Shah was also a co-founder of America Rising, "a right-leaning political action committee that produces opposition research on Democratic candidates". The playbook on the anti-Clinton campaign was
very deep, it’s very broad. We had the time and resources to dig through it all and kind of pick and choose how we wanted to go about the general election. I think it played to our benefit. When the email issue broke, we knew what buttons to push. When issues surrounding the foundation came up we knew where to look. We filed over 550 FOI requests and we sued the government half a dozen times to release records. All these sorts of things were years in the making. It was a huge coordinated effort.
As head of opposition research in the Republican National Committee (RNC) in 2016, Shah "led a team of experts to carry out research against Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate. Shah was behind all the anti-Clinton campaign during the presidential elections." Then-incoming White House Chief of Staff and -outgoing head of the RNC Reince Priebus, "said that Shah will be among the 'key leaders in helping to implement the President-elect's agenda and bring real change to Washington.'" 
Shah was one of the early staffers on duty in the White House on Inauguration Day, attending to reporters' inquiries and beginning establishment of the communications apparatus (emails of 'OCIO' distributions of the address and the first White House pool report were early to go out) in the West Wing and the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.