NEW: @jonkarl: People close to the president are saying it might be time for Jared Kushner to take a leave of absence from the White House. pic.twitter.com/pIgqkNJNx1
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) May 28, 2017
The New York Times reports: It has been duly noted in the White House that Mr. Trump, who feels that he has been ill served by his staff, has increasingly included Mr. Kushner when he dresses down aides and officials, a rarity earlier in his administration and during the campaign.
The most serious point of contention between the president and his son-in-law, two people familiar with the interactions said, was a video clip this month of Mr. Kushner’s sister Nicole Meyer pitching potential investors in Beijing on a Kushner Companies condominium project in Jersey City. At one point, Ms. Meyer — who remains close to Mr. Kushner — dangled the availability of EB-5 visas to the United States as an enticement for Chinese financiers willing to spend $500,000 or more.
For Mr. Trump, Ms. Meyer’s performance violated two major rules: Politically, it undercut his immigration crackdown, and in a personal sense, it smacked of profiteering off Mr. Trump — one of the sins that warrants expulsion from his orbit.
In the following days during routine West Wing meetings, the president made several snarky, disparaging comments about Mr. Kushner’s family and the visas that were clearly intended to express his annoyance, two aides said. Mr. Kushner did not respond, at least not in earshot.
His preppy aesthetic, sotto voce style and preference for backstage maneuvering seemingly set him apart from his father-in-law — but the similarities outweigh the differences. Both men were reared in the freewheeling, ruthless world of real estate, and both possess an unshakable self-assurance that is both their greatest attribute and their direst vulnerability.
Mr. Kushner’s reported feeler to the Russians even as President Barack Obama remained in charge of American foreign policy was a trademark move by someone with a deep confidence in his abilities that critics say borders on conceit, people close to him said. And it echoes his history of sailing forth into unknown territory, including buying a newspaper at age 25 and developing a data-analytics program that he has said helped deliver the presidency to his father-in-law.
He is intensely proud of his accomplishments in the private sector and has repeatedly suggested his tenure in Washington will hurt, not help, his brand and bottom line.
That unfailing self-regard has not endeared him to the rest of the staff. Resentful Trump staff members have long talked about “Jared Island” to describe the special status occupied by Mr. Kushner, who, in their view, is given license to exercise power and take on a vague portfolio — “Middle East peace” and “innovation” are its central components — without suffering the consequences of failure visited by the president on mere hirelings.
Adding to the animus is Mr. Kushner’s aloof demeanor and his propensity for avoiding messy aspects of his job that he would simply rather not do — he has told associates he wants nothing to do with the legislative process, for instance. He also has a habit, they say, of disappearing during crises, such as his absence on a family ski trip when Mr. Trump’s first health care bill was crashing in March.
Mr. Bannon, a onetime Kushner ally turned adversary known for working himself into ill health, has taken to comparing the former real estate executive to “the air,” because he blows in and out of meetings leaving little trace, according to one senior Trump aide. [Continue reading…]