Trump’s inner circle gets whiter

The West Wing is expected to lose one of its most prominent minority aides in the coming months, opening President Donald Trump’s inner circle up to new scrutiny as he continues to stoke racial tensions.

Deputy press secretary Raj Shah, an Indian-American, is expected to step down following the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, according to multiple people familiar with his plans. He has told associates that he only planned to stay in the White House for 18 months, but extended his tenure to lead communications on the Kavanaugh nomination. Shah declined to comment.

Shah, who is among the dwindling number of original staffers remaining in the West Wing, is widely seen as a stabilizing presence in an administration known for chaos.

His resignation would follow the departure of two other minority White House aides: communications staffer Steven Cheung, who was one of the last remaining veterans of the Trump campaign to work in the White House, and Helen Aguirre Ferré, director of media affairs.

Trump will still have a handful of senior aides who are minorities including director of strategic communications Mercedes Schlapp, who is Cuban-American, and deputy chief of staff Zachary Fuentes. But the overwhelming share of people who advise the president on a daily basis, from his most trusted senior staffers to many of his Cabinet secretaries to his former campaign staff, are white.

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