Nov 26, 2017

Jared’s jam: Kushner hit by White House aides, media

Photo: Andrew Harnik / AP

There's an unusual echo on the front pages of the N.Y. Times and WashPost, which have nearly identical stories about the "waning public role" of Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser.

Be smart: Kushner allies say he has embraced and encouraged this new reality — playing by the rules of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who was installed with his support.

  • Kushner had irritated some colleagues with his high profile, which made him an even bigger target. So he has shrunk externally to stay viable internally.

The juiciest bits from the N.Y. Times:

  • "Kushner, ... who had been in seemingly every meeting and every photograph, has lately disappeared from public view and, according to some colleagues, taken on a more limited role behind the scenes."
  • "He is still forging ahead on a plan to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, ... and he has been credited with focusing attention on the government's technological needs. But he is no longer seen as the primary presidential consigliere with the limitless portfolio."
  • Kelly has told associates: "Jared works for me."
  • Kelly in an interview: "There was honestly never a time when I contemplated getting rid of Jared and Ivanka."
  • Kelly said the Office of American Innovation, run by Kushner, had demonstrated its value, noting that he had recently sent some members of its team to Puerto Rico to report back on conditions.
  • "[I]n an email forwarded by the White House, the president said ... he still relied on Mr. Kushner. 'Jared is working very hard on peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and the last thing I would ever do is get in the way of that possibility.'"

And the WashPost:

  • "His still-evolving role in the investigations of Russian election interference and possible obstruction of justice also make him a potential risk to President Trump."
  • "In a rare interview in his West Wing office earlier this month — a silver bowl of Halloween candy still on the table — Kushner offered his own version of the fable of the fox, who knows many things, and the hedgehog, who knows one important thing."
  • Kushner: "During the campaign, I was more like a fox than a hedgehog. I was more of a generalist having to learn about and master a lot of skills quickly."
  • Kushner continues: "When I got to D.C., I came with an understanding that the problems here are so complex — and if they were easy problems, they would have been fixed before — and so I became more like the hedgehog, where it was more taking issues you care deeply about, going deep and devoting the time, energy and resources to trying to drive change."

Flashback ... Axios on Oct. 2, "Jared and Ivanka shrink roles to shield themselves" ... Vanity Fair on Nov. 21, "'Kelly has clipped his wings.'"

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