Thus far, in the scandal-plagued, chaotic presidency of Donald Trump, the chief executive’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has enjoyed a kind of unsinkable “privileged status.”
According to Politico, however, resentment is growing against Kushner in an already factionalized and strife-torn White House. Hardline conservatives see the moderate-minded, 36-year-old Kushner as an obstacle to their agenda and worry that Kushner ally Gary Cohn — a Democrat — will pressure Kushner to steer the administration toward the middle.
Thus far, Pres. Trump has tasked his daughter’s husband — a government neophyte with no previous policy or legislative experience — with solving the crisis in the Middle East and overseeing the U.S. relationships with China, Canada and Mexico. On top of that ambitious portfolio, Kushner and Cohn this week established the White House Office of American Innovation, an initiative to modernize and streamline the operations of the federal government.
“But Kushner’s status as the big-issue guru has stoked resentment among his colleagues, who question whether Kushner is capable of following through on his various commitments,” wrote Politico’s Josh Dawsey, Kenneth P. Vogel and Alex Isenstadt. “And some colleagues complain that his dabbling in myriad issues and his tendency to walk in and out of meetings have complicated efforts to instill more order and organization into the chaotic administration. These people also say Kushner can be a shrewd self promoter, knowing how to take credit — and shirk blame — whenever it suits him.”
“He’s saving the government and the Middle East at the same time,” one administration official quipped to Politico.
Kushner is arguably the president’s closest adviser — the last person to speak to him each day and also the administration’s hatchet man. During the 2016 campaign, it fell to Kushner to fire campaign managers Corey Lewandowski and Paul Manafort. It was also Kushner who axed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) from the Trump transition team.
Lewandowski in particular is rumored to be pursuing a vendetta against Kushner, planting anonymous stories about the president’s son-in-law with conservative media outlets. Other campaign officials who didn’t get hired by the administration are reportedly aligned with Lewandowski and believe that Kushner is insufficiently conservative.
Far-right radio host Mark Levin has attacked Kushner before, calling him “some 32-year-old, liberal Democrat kid out of New York.” Other neoconservatives and Zionist Israel supporters said they had high hopes for Kushner because he is an Orthodox Jew and the grandson of Holocaust survivors, but thus far they say he has disappointed them.
A source told Politico that “those hopes mostly have been supplanted by ‘deep concern that Jared is not the person we thought he was — that this guy who is supposed to be good at everything is totally out of his depth.’”
Kushner himself remains breezily confident, telling associates not to fret over the Russia investigation because it “isn’t going anywhere” and assuring others that his father-in-law’s administration will get past its early stumbles.
“But if it doesn’t,” Politico said, “allies and aides say, one thing is clear: the president will surely find someone else to take the blame. And Kushner will likely be delivering the bad news.”
Kushner was the subject of Republican ire in the wake of the president’s failed healthcare bill after he and the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump left Washington for a ski-trip to Aspen, CO. This week it came out that the presidential son-in-law is wanted for testimony in connection to an FBI investigation of a bank implicated in Russian money laundering.