White House announces press, communications shop promotions

The White House announced late Tuesday several additions and changes to the press and communications shops, including formally elevating 28-year-old Hope Hicks to the senior position of communications director.

Hicks is one of President Trump's most loyal aides, who has been working for him since before the campaign.

The latest staffing changes at the White House reflect the promotion of several women and minorities into top positions.

The White House also announced that Mercedes Schlapp, a GOP strategist and a former Fox News contributor, has been named senior adviser for strategic communications. Fox News reported last week that Schlapp, well-known in conservative circles, would be named to a senior role in the communications department. Schlapp, a Cuban-American, also worked under President George W. Bush as his director of specialty media.

Raj Shah has been elevated from deputy communications director to Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders' second-in-command, as the White House's new principal deputy press secretary.

Shah, who worked at the RNC as head of their aggressive research wing in 2016, was brought in by former press secretary Sean Spicer. Though close to Spicer, Shah also made himself invaluable to the White House staff for his political research skills, and, like Sanders, is well-liked overall by the White House staff, according to White House sources. Shah, an Indian-American, is a co-founder of the conservative America Rising PAC, known for its opposition research on Democrats during elections.

Steven Cheung, meanwhile, has been promoted to director of strategic response. Cheung, who started on the the Trump campaign as rapid response director, was formerly assistant communications director at the White House. Cheung, an Asian-American, is a veteran of many GOP campaigns and was also the former spokesman for the Ultimate Fighting Championship. 

Serafin Gomez is a White House Producer for FOX News Channel, who also covered the 2016 election as a Special Events & Politics producer and former special campaign correspondent for Fox News Latino. Fin formerly worked as the Miami Bureau Producer for Fox News Channel where he covered Florida Politics & Latin America. Follow him on Twitter: @Finnygo