Trump surrogate Epshteyn named to White House role

Republican strategist, known for combative style in TV appearances on behalf of incoming administration, to serve as special assistant to president

Boris Epshteyn on June 30, 2015.  (Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for SiriusXM via JTA)
Boris Epshteyn on June 30, 2015. (Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for SiriusXM via JTA)

Donald Trump named Boris Epshteyn, a Republican political strategist who has appeared as a surrogate for the president-elect on TV, as special assistant to the president.

Epshteyn, who is in his mid-30s and is Jewish, would also serve as assistant communications director for surrogate operations, according to a transition team statement released on Thursday.

In addition, the statement said Avraham Berkowitz would serve as special assistant to the president and assistant to Jared Kushner, Trump’s Jewish son-in-law who is serving as his senior adviser.

A New York-based investment banker and finance attorney, Epshteyn worked as a communications aide for Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign in 2008, focusing his efforts on the Arizona senator’s running mate, then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

He has since defended Trump on major TV networks over 100 times, according to The New York Times. TV hosts have described Epshteyn, who moved to the United States from his native Moscow in 1993, as “very combative” and “abrasive.”

In 2014, he was charged with misdemeanor assault after being involved in a bar tussle. The charge was dropped after Epshteyn agreed to undergo anger management training and perform community service.

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