Boris Epshteyn

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Boris Epshteyn
Boris123.jpg
White House Assistant Director of Communications for Surrogate Operations
In office
January 20, 2017 – March 25, 2017
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byVacant
Personal details
Born
Boris Epshteyn

(1982-08-14) August 14, 1982 (age 38)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Lauren Tanick
Children1
EducationGeorgetown University (BA, JD)

Boris Epshteyn (born August 14, 1982) is an American Republican political strategist, investment banker, and attorney. He was the Strategic Advisor on the Trump 2020 Campaign.[1] He was the chief political commentator at Sinclair Broadcast Group until December 2019.[2] He was a senior advisor to Donald Trump's 2016 campaign for President of the United States, and previously worked on the McCain-Palin campaign. Following Trump's election, he was named director of communications for the Presidential Inaugural Committee,[3] and then assistant communications director for surrogate operations in the administration, until he resigned in March 2017.

Early life and education[edit]

Epshteyn was born in 1982 in Moscow, Soviet Union, the son of Anna Shulkina and Aleksandr Epshteyn. His family is Russian Jewish.[4] In 1993, he immigrated as a refugee with his family to Plainsboro Township, New Jersey under the Lautenberg amendment of 1990.[5]

Epshteyn is a graduate of Georgetown University School of Foreign Service (BSFS, 2004). During his time as an undergraduate at Georgetown, Epshteyn became a brother of the Eta Sigma chapter of the Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) fraternity.[6] He graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center with a J.D. degree.[7]

Career[edit]

Following his graduation from law school, Epshteyn was part of the finance practice of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy New York. He worked on securities transactions, private placements, and bank finance.[8]

In 2008, Epshteyn was a communications aide with the McCain-Palin campaign. While at the campaign, he was part of a rapid response task force which concentrated on issues related to the vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.[9]

Epshteyn was managing director of business and legal affairs at the boutique investment bank West America Securities Corporation until the firm was expelled from the Financial Industry Regulatory Agency in 2013.[10] He is managing director of business and legal affairs for investment banking firm TGP Securities.[8] In October 2013, Epshteyn moderated a panel at the investment conference "Invest in Moscow!" The panel was composed mainly of Moscow city government officials, including Sergey Cheremin, a city minister who heads Moscow's foreign economic and international relations department.[11]

2016 Trump campaign[edit]

During the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, Epshteyn acted as a senior advisor to the Donald Trump campaign, making frequent television appearances as a Trump media surrogate on Trump's behalf.[11]

In September 2016, Epshteyn responded to a question from MSNBC's Hallie Jackson by offering a new explanation for why a portrait of Trump – paid for by the Donald J. Trump Foundation – wound up on display at Trump National Doral Miami, a Trump-owned for-profit golf resort in Florida. Epshteyn said, "There are IRS rules which specifically state that when a foundation has an item, an individual can store those items – on behalf of the foundation – in order to help it with storage costs... And that's absolutely proper." Epshteyn's explanation was, in effect, that Trump hadn't used his foundation to buy some art for his resort, which would be self-dealing. Instead, Trump's resort was helping the foundation – which has no employees or office space of its own – to store one of its possessions.[12] Epshteyn's explanation failed to account for why the storage services required that portrait be displayed in public, as opposed to being maintained in a storage space. Similarly, Epshteyn failed to explain why the Trump National Doral Miami provided such storage services only for the Trump Foundation and only for a portrait of Trump.

In September 2016, the media watchdog organization Media Matters for America criticized CNN, Fox News, and PBS for failing to disclose Epshteyn's "financial ties to the former Soviet Union, which include consulting through Strategy International LLC for 'entities doing business in Eastern Europe' and moderating a Russian-sponsored conference on 'investment opportunities in Moscow.'"[13]

In an October 2016 article in The New York Times, three political commentators said in separate interviews that Epshteyn "often acted in a rude, condescending manner toward show staffers, makeup artists and others." Joy Reid, an MSNBC show host, said "Boris is abrasive. That is who he is both on the air and off."[4]

Epshteyn co-hosted the Trump Campaign Facebook Live coverage before and after the final presidential debate. He also anchored "Trump Tower Live", the Trump Campaign Facebook live nightly program.[14]

During the 2020 U.S. presidential campaign, Epshteyn also acted as a senior advisor to the 2020 Donald Trump campaign where Trump lost the election to Joe Biden. On November 25, 2020 it was reported that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.[15]

Trump administration[edit]

Epshteyn became a special assistant in the Trump administration as it took office. He wrote Trump's controversial statement for Holocaust Remembrance Day in January 2017, which omitted any mention of the Jewish people.[16] Following criticism of the omission, press secretary Sean Spicer defended the statement as written by "an individual who is both Jewish and the descendent of Holocaust survivors."[16][17] At the end of March 2017, it was reported that unnamed sources had said Epshteyn was resigning.[18]

Sinclair Broadcast Group[edit]

In mid-April 2017, Sinclair announced it had hired Epshteyn as its senior political analyst. Regarding the appointment, Scott Livingston at Sinclair said in part, "We understand the frustration with government and traditional institutions." Epshteyn said in part, "I greatly admire Sinclair's mission to provide thoughtful impactful reporting throughout the country." At the time, Variety also noted Jared Kushner's December 2016 revelation of discussions between the Trump campaign and the company and content provided to the company which, the report said, Sinclair had "vehemently denied".[19]

2020 Trump campaign[edit]

Epshteyn was the Strategic Advisor and Co-Chair of the Jewish Voices for Trump Advisory Board for President Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign. [20] He led the campaign’s Jewish outreach, appearing in media interviews across national outlets and participating in large-scale events across the country, including in Florida, Pennsylvania, and New York. [21]

Trump garnered the highest Jewish support tor a Republican presidential candidate since George W. Bush in 1988, receiving 31% of the vote nationally [22] and 40.5% in the key battleground state of Florida, [23] which President Trump won. Trump’s 2020 results with Jewish voters also outperformed his 2016 totals, when he received 24% [24] of the Jewish vote nationally and 27% in Florida. [25]

Personal life[edit]

Epshteyn married Lauren Tanick Epshteyn, a sales manager at Google, in 2009.[7] They have one child.

Epshteyn was reported to be a friend of Eric Trump, who also attended Georgetown.[4]

Following a bar fight in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 2014, Epshteyn was charged with misdemeanor assault. The charge was dropped after he agreed to undergo anger management counseling and perform community service.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kumar, Anita (June 9, 2020). "Trump gets the 2016 band back together as he tumbles in polls". Politico. Archived from the original on June 13, 2020. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  2. ^ Atkinson, Claire (December 19, 2019). "Sinclair drops Boris Epshteyn and other political analysts". NBC News. Archived from the original on February 19, 2020. Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  3. ^ "Presidential Inaugural Committee seeks workers and volunteers". The Washington Post. November 23, 2016. Archived from the original on November 26, 2016. Retrieved November 26, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d Meier, Barry; Craig, Susanne (October 13, 2016). "The Obscure Lawyer Who Became Donald Trump's TV Attack Dog," Archived January 20, 2017, at the Wayback Machine The New York Times, retrieved January 25, 2017.
  5. ^ Epshteyn, Boris (June 6, 2013). "Thank You Senator Lautenberg: The Lautenberg Amendment opened the door for more religious minorities to find a new life in America". US News. Archived from the original on December 4, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  6. ^ "Notable Alumni" Archived February 19, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, aepi.org.
  7. ^ a b "Lauren Tanick, Boris Epshteyn - Weddings and Celebrations". The New York Times. November 27, 2009. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on March 1, 2017. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
  8. ^ a b "About Us". TGP Securities. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved January 31, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ "Arena Profile: Boris Epshteyn". Politico. Archived from the original on September 28, 2016. Retrieved October 2, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ "Boris Epshtyn". FinRA. Archived from the original on June 27, 2018. Retrieved June 26, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ a b Marans, Daniel (August 12, 2016). "When It Comes To Donald Trump's Russia Ties, It's All About The Aides". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on September 30, 2016. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
  12. ^ Fahrenthold, David A. (September 27, 2016). "Trump is actually doing his foundation a favor, by 'storing' its portrait on his golf resort wall, his adviser says". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on October 2, 2016. Retrieved September 30, 2016.
  13. ^ Hananoki, Eric (September 15, 2016). "Media host Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn on Russia without disclosing his business ties," Archived January 26, 2017, at the Wayback Machine Media Matters for America, retrieved January 25, 2017.
  14. ^ Lapowsky, Issie (October 24, 2016). "Trump's Campaign Is Launching a Nightly News Show on Facebook". Wired. Archived from the original on November 26, 2016. Retrieved November 26, 2016.
  15. ^ Aaro, David (November 25, 2020). "Trump campaign adviser Boris Epshteyn tests positive for coronavirus". Fox News. Archived from the original on November 27, 2020. Retrieved November 27, 2020.
  16. ^ a b Karni, Annie (January 30, 2017). "White House aide Epshteyn wrote controversial Holocaust memorial statement". Politico. Archived from the original on February 4, 2017. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  17. ^ Salkin, Jeffrey (January 31, 2017). "Meet Trump's Holocaust tutor". Religion News Service. Archived from the original on February 4, 2017. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  18. ^ Haberman, Maggie, "Boris Epshteyn, Trump TV Surrogate, Is Leaving White House Job" Archived May 4, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, The New York Times, March 25, 2017. "according to three people with knowledge of the move". Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  19. ^ Littleton, Cynthia, "Trump Spokesman Boris Epshteyn Joins Sinclair Broadcast Group as Political Analyst" Archived December 16, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, Variety, April 17, 2017. Retrieved 2017-04-25.
  20. ^ "Trump's Jewish point person: President has fought anti-Semitism 'everywhere and anywhere'". JNS. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
  21. ^ "At Brooklyn Trump rally, Orthodox anger at mayor and governor take center stage". Times of Israel. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
  22. ^ "Understanding The 2020 Electorate: AP VoteCast Survey". NPR. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
  23. ^ "Florida Voter Surveys: How Different Groups Voted". New York Times. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
  24. ^ "How the faithful voted: A preliminary 2016 analysis". Pew Research Center. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
  25. ^ "Florida, where the Jewish vote for president really counts". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved January 16, 2021.

External links[edit]