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Latina Press Officer Helen Aguirre Ferre Leaves White House

FILE — The White House in Washington, D.C.
FILE — The White House in Washington, D.C.

Helen Aguirre Ferre, one of the most prominent Latinos serving in the White House, has left her job as director of media affairs.

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said Thursday that Aguirre was taking up a new position as director for strategic communications and public affairs at the National Endowment for the Arts. She said Aguirre would start her new job in the next two weeks.

In a statement, Aguirre said she looks forward to “continuing to advance the President’s agenda in support of American communities through the National Endowment for the Arts which provides support to nonprofit cultural institutions nationwide.”

Aguirre had held the White House job since the start of the Trump administration after serving as the Republican National Committee’s director of Hispanic communications. During her tenure, the White House removed the Spanish-language content from its website, a departure from the two previous administrations.

President Donald Trump’s engagement with Latinos has been complicated. During his campaign, Trump turned off many Latinos with his harsh anti-immigration rhetoric, including disparaging Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists. He criticized rival Jeb Bush for answering a reporter’s question in Spanish, saying the former Florida governor “should really set the example by speaking English while in the United States.”

Aguirre’s departure follows that of another high-profile Latino, Carlos Diaz-Rosillo, who in June left his job at the White House as deputy assistant to the president and director of policy and interagency coordination to become a senior deputy chairman at the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Before joining the administration, Díaz-Rosillo had taught at Harvard in the Government Department. He did not reply to a message from the AP requesting comment.

The recent changes leave these Latinos serving closest to Trump: Mercedes Schlapp, White House director of strategic communications; Jennifer Korn, special assistant to the president and deputy director for the Office of Public Liaison; Juan Cruz, senior director for Western Hemisphere affairs at the National Security Council.