Tuesday, May 30, 2017

All In The Family

The son-in-law who makes trouble for the family is an old story and rarely ends happily.

The most successful deal of Jared Kushner’s short and consequential career in real estate and politics involves one highly leveraged acquisition: a pair of adjoining offices a few penny-loafer paces from his father-in-law’s desk in the White House.

Over the past week, Mr. Kushner, who at age 36 occupies an ill-defined role somewhere between princeling and President Trump’s shadow chief of staff, has seen his foothold on that invaluable real estate shrink amid revelations he is under scrutiny in a federal investigation into whether there was collusion with Russian officials during the presidential campaign.

Mr. Kushner, an observant Jew, spent the Sabbath in fretful seclusion with his wife, Ivanka Trump, at his father-in-law’s resort in Bedminster, N.J., unplugged, per religious custom, from electronics. But he emerged defiant and eager to defend his reputation in congressional hearings, according to two of his associates.

What is less clear is how Mr. Kushner’s woes will affect his hard-won influence on a mercurial father-in-law who is eager to put distance between himself and a scandal that is swamping his agenda and, he believes, threatening his family.


In a statement Sunday night, Mr. Trump praised his son-in-law and the work he has done in the White House.

“Jared is doing a great job for the country,” he said. “I have total confidence in him. He is respected by virtually everyone and is working on programs that will save our country billions of dollars. In addition to that, and perhaps more importantly, he is a very good person.”

But in recent weeks, the Trump-Kushner relationship, the most stable partnership in an often unstable West Wing, is showing unmistakable signs of strain.

That relationship had already begun to fray a bit after Mr. Trump’s dismissal of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, which Mr. Kushner had strongly advocated, and because of his repeated attempts to oust Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, as well as the president’s overburdened communications team, especially Sean Spicer, the press secretary.

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.

When your boss and father-in-law has to tell the press he has total confidence in you, it’s time to start thinking about spending more time with the family.