Sunday, April 16, 2017

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump: Pillars of Family-Driven West Wing

⦁ “If you think of it as a classic business model, Trump likes to invest in winners because they make more money, and Jared has been pretty consistently winning,” said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, an ally of Mr. Trump’s. “You’re always on a what’s-your-quarterly-report kind of relationship with Trump.”
⦁ Neither Mr. Kushner nor Ms. Trump have government experience. Mr. Kushner, 36, managed the real estate empire he inherited from his family and bought The New York Observer as a side project. Ms. Trump, 35, was groomed with her brothers to run the family company before starting a fashion brand that appealed to young, urban female consumers likely to align themselves with her father’s opponents.
⦁ But the quarterly report on Mr. Kushner shows that he has been in merger-and-acquisition mode. He has expanded his portfolio into a far-ranging set of issues, including Middle East peace, the opioid epidemic, relations with ⦁ China and ⦁ Mexico and reorganizing the federal government from top to bottom. “Everything runs through me,” he told corporate executives during the transition.
⦁ Lately, he has pushed to overhaul the criminal justice system, a goal that Mr. Trump embraced as a candidate near the end of the campaign when he tried to siphon black voters away from ⦁ Hillary Clinton. But Mr. Kushner is running into opposition from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who favors toughening, not relaxing, mandatory minimum sentences.
⦁ Some colleagues, including Mr. Bannon and Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, regard Mr. Kushner’s breathtaking list of assignments with comic contempt, according to a dozen Trump associates who insisted on anonymity to discuss Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump. After Mr. Kushner’s trip to Iraq, White House aides referred to him as the “secretary of state.”
⦁ But they are warier of Ms. Trump, who only recently arrived in the West Wing and until now has been a more sporadic player than her ambitious husband. Initially resistant to a formal role in the administration, Ms. Trump took an office and a government position — albeit, like her husband, without accepting a salary — out of concern over the troubles of her father’s first couple of months in office.
⦁ According to associates, she views her role partly as guardian of the family reputation and has fretted during and since the campaign about the long-term damage to the family business’s image that her father’s political career could cause.
⦁ When Ms. Trump does intervene, her father listens — although he does not always take her advice. One person close to the family described her influence as a delayed-action fuse: At times the president will mention a point Ms. Trump made, uncredited, days later.
⦁ Her brother Eric Trump said she was upset by pictures of victims from the chemical attack in Syria and that may have encouraged their father to retaliate. He defended family members being in the White House, saying relatives are more candid. “The beautiful thing about family is you play on a little bit of a different dynamic and once in a while you can pull them aside and say, ‘No disrespect but you might want to think about this or maybe you crossed the line here,
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⦁ The White House had no comment on Friday. But the supposed backstage liberal counterrevolution that critics fear has yielded modest results. Last week, the president signed legislation allowing states to deny federal funding to women’s health care providers offering abortion services, like Planned Parenthood. Ms. Trump and Mr. Kushner were skiing in Canada, just as they were on the slopes in Aspen during the collapse of the health care effort.
⦁ “I think there are multiple ways to have your voice heard,” Ms. Trump recently ⦁ told CBS News. “In some cases, it’s through protest and it’s through going on the nightly news and talking about or denouncing every issue on which you disagree with. Other times it is quietly and directly and candidly.
⦁ “So where I disagree with my father, he knows it,” she added. “And I express myself with total candor. Where I agree, I fully lean in and support the agenda and — and hope — that I can be an asset to him and — and make a positive impact. But I respect the fact that he always listens. It’s how he was in business. It’s how he is as president.”
⦁ Other presidents have relied on family. John Adams appointed John Quincy Adams minister to Prussia. Edith Wilson effectively ran the White House when Woodrow Wilson was stricken. Eleanor Roosevelt wrote reports to Franklin D. Roosevelt from around the country and their daughter Anna Roosevelt was a gatekeeper in his later days.

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