Trump has a new tech whisperer in the White House

Matt Lira from the office of Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va. is photographed in the Rayburn Room, July 8, 2009.
Tom Williams | Roll Call | Getty Images

President Donald Trump is slowly filling his ranks of top tech advisers in the White House.

Weeks after hiring an aide to Peter Thiel as his first deputy chief technology officer, Trump has hired himself another aide: Matt Lira, a longtime digital aide to leading Republican lawmakers and GOP causes, according to three sources familiar with the matter.

Specifically, Lira will serve as a special assistant to the president for innovation policy and initiatives, the White House confirmed to Recode on Thursday. He joins the Trump administration most recently from the office of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., where Lira helped advance an entire initiative focused on tech policy issues.

It was Lira, for example, who aided McCarthy's efforts to pass a bill that allows tech engineers to serve brief tours of duty for the federal government — a measure that Barack Obama signed into law in the final hours of his presidency.

More from Recode:
Alphabet's Waymo is suing Otto and Uber for allegedly stealing the design of a key self-driving system
Snap's founders and investors hope to sell more than $1 billion in stock as part of its IPO
Mark Zuckerberg wants Facebook to have more power in our lives, and we should resist

Lira himself did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday, but another email to his old congressional inbox says he departed on March 17.

Before joining the GOP leader's office in July 2015, Lira served as top aide to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the campaign arm that helps fund and elect GOP candidates for the U.S. Senate. Lira has also served as a senior advisor to former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., and he worked as a digital director for Paul Ryan while he was running as a vice presidential candidate on GOP contender Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential ticket.

Lira joins a White House that's slowly but surely forming its tech ranks. As I scooped earlier in March, the White House hired Michael Kratsios, the chief of staff at Thiel Capital, as its first deputy chief technology officer. (Trump, who Peter Thiel advised during the early days of his presidency, has not named a chief technology officer.)


The administration also has drafted Grace Koh, a former congressional staffer, for a key posting on the National Economic Council that touches on telecommunications issues. The NEC is led by Gary Cohn, the Goldman Sachs banker who's a familiar face to the likes of Uber in Silicon Valley.

By Tom Romm,

CNBC's parent NBCUniversal is an investor in Recode's parent Vox, and the companies have a content-sharing arrangement.