Oct 29, 2019

Exclusive: Jared Kushner swings back at Joe Biden

President Trump's senior adviser Jared Kushner told me during an exclusive interview with Israel's Channel 13 News that many of his efforts since he started working at the White House were focused on "cleaning up the messes that Vice President Biden left behind."

Why it matters: Kushner’s swing against Biden came in response to Biden’s remarks during an interview with CBS' "60 Minutes" over the weekend, when the former vice president said it was "improper" for Trump to appoint his son-in-law Kushner and daughter Ivanka for senior positions in the White House.

  • The Democratic presidential hopeful said that he will not appoint any of his kids to government jobs if he is elected president in 2020.
  • Kushner said that Biden is entitled to his opinion, but stated that Trump is entitled to pick his team. He added that he and Ivanka "worked with [Trump] for a long time, and I think we have done a good job of trying to help him being successful."

The big picture: Kushner gave several examples of his White House work that he claimed was aimed at fixing problems created by Biden — specifically, criminal justice reform.

  • Kushner said that reforms enacted by the Trump administration "rolled back a lot of the very harsh laws that were created and partially written by Vice President Biden over 20 years ago, which put a lot of African Americans in prison and really destroyed a generation and did a lot of harm to our country."

Between the lines, via Axios' Margaret Talev: Biden so far has been the top 2020 candidate for African American voters in many polls, but he also has taken some criticism for his work on the 1994 crime bill, and for statements seen as racially insensitive or outdated on issues from busing to the legacy of slavery to the value of bipartisan political friendships with people associated with segregation.

  • Kushner's implication that Biden's Senate legacy harmed African American voters could be aimed at both weakening him in the primary contest and foreshadowing an argument Trump might try to use against Biden in the general election if he emerges as the nominee. 

Kushner also criticized Biden for helping to negotiate the TPP trade deal, which Trump withdrew from, and for U.S. policy in the Middle East during his vice presidency.

  • "We inherited an ISIS caliphate, Iran was strong, Libya was a mess and a lot of our allies felt abandoned. We worked very hard over the last three years to try and rebuild the Middle East and to put it in a much more stable framing."

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