As President Donald Trump tries to cancel the 2020 election, forgiving the perpetrators of one of the most notorious atrocities of the Iraq war and throwing a key at the last minute in state funding and COVID emergency legislation, his most trusted adviser has been half a world away .
Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House aide, has spent considerable time after the election abroad, including advocating for the work he has done in the Middle East. He has planted an olive tree in the Jerusalem Groves of Nations, elbow-bumped with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu, and took the first direct flight between Morocco and Israel after orchestrating a formal detente between the two nations – a detente smeared with arms sales and a de facto permit for territorial annexation of Palestinian land.
The trip has been festive. On Monday, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman announced that the courtyard in front of the US Embassy in Jerusalem would be named in Kushner’s honor. But it also struck individuals at home as wild, almost comical, poorly timed; and they suppose, deliberately. After all, Jared has a habit of getting out of the way in the most problematic moments, and few times are as problematic as the present one.
“This is exactly what Jared is doing,” said a senior Trump aide.
Among loyal Trump, Kushner’s anger has risen over the past few weeks. Two other sources close to the president described Kushner as “nowhere to be found” and had “run for cover”. At the start of this effort, Kushner was at least nominally supportive of his father-in-law’s legal and public relations blitz, with Trump’s top adviser Jason Miller saying in early November: “Jared has been more hardcore in fighting back on this than some. “But several of the president’s confidants do not believe the White House senior adviser trusts Trump’s swinging push to regret the election result now.
The White House did not respond to requests for comment on this story.
By the beginning of the Trump administration, the conventional wisdom around Kushner had been that he would be a moderate influence on the president – the one person among the high-ranking group of aides who could tell the boss the unequivocal truth; or, if not, at least something that is not driven by purely right-wing ID. It was not just that Kushner was a product of elite institutions and the cosmopolitan society. Unlike everyone else, he did not suffer from fear of being fired; perks, one is assumed to be son-in-law.
But the CW was wrong. Those who have observed the relationship between Trump and Kushner say the latter has a rare status within the president’s lane. And because of this, he has been given a huge responsibility, jumping from pet initiative to initiative and tied up with them when there was too much bad PR, or when he was simply bored. But he has never been the moderating influence that Democrats (and many Republicans) long ago had hoped he would be. Often, in fact, he prefers to maintain peace rather than pursue confrontation.
“Jared can have this aura about him,” a Trump adviser said. “But what he does well is that he knows when to get in and out. He’s not a Trump whisperer that the president listens to shit like [the post election conspiracies]. There’s a reason he does what he does. There’s a reason he floats in and out and goes when it gets bad. He will not play that role. The whole reason he’s gone right now is because he knows the president would probably break out over him. ”
“Jared can have this aura about him. But what he does well is that he knows when to get in and out. He’s not a Trump whisperer that the president listens to shit like [the post election conspiracies]. There’s a reason he does what he does. There’s a reason he flows in and out and goes when it gets bad. He will not play that role.”
– A Trump adviser
Kushner’s miraculous ability to be out of sight – with his wife and fellow adviser Ivanka by his side – at a time when Trump is at his most volatile has become something of a punchline in Trumpland.
In the first year of the Trump era, when some Democrats hoped Ivanka and Kushner would serve as a social-liberal control of the administration’s anti-LGBTQ policy rollout, the couple decided – as a senior White House official observed at the time – quickly the decision that their “political capital is being used elsewhere.” In early 2017, during high-stakes negotiations between Trump’s White House and Republican lawmakers over the attempt to repeal Obamacare, the two went skiing in Aspen. And during the pandemic, Kushner first positioned himself as the savior of the Trump administration’s early response, only to become less visible and involved when the promises he made about testing and medical supplies proved inaccurate.
And yet few moments seem to need anyone to soberly talk the president through his options, like the one Trump is in now. Over the past few weeks, the president has joined a series of wild conspiracy theories to explain his election loss away. And he has given some of the biggest providers of disinformation and is lying the most valuable item he possesses: his attention and interest.
The result has been chaos. A rival faction of advisers – the president’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani and his chief of staff Mark Meadows, chief among them – have been actively working to lure Trump with a set of electoral ideas in an attempt to distract him from a more extreme group. of democracy-canceling ideas pushed to Trump by diehard supporters like MAGA lawyer Sidney Powell and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
“I suppose you can call it a form of fighting fire with fire,” a close adviser to the president said.
Trump has, at least from now on, decided to reject Powell’s calls for him to make her a “special adviser” to investigate allegations of voter fraud. And the military has sent signals protesting the martial law, which Flynn advocates for resuming elections in key swing states.
Since the summer, the chief of staff, General Mark Milley, has registered repeated objections to involving the military in the election – a kind of reconciliation for Milley, who has lamented giving Trump a military imprint for the infamous Lafayette Square attack on peaceful protesters. in black liberation in June.
“We do not swear to a king or a queen or a tyrant or a dictator. We do not take an oath to an individual. No, we do not swear allegiance to a country, a tribe, or a religion. We are taking an oath to the Constitution, “Milley said on November 11, when it began to become clear to everyone except Trump’s loyalists that Trump had lost the election.
But as the coup speech intensified over the past few days, Milley had not repeated his objections or made them more explicit. His allies believe that his position is sufficiently clear. On Friday, Army Secretary of State Ryan McCarthy and Chief of Staff James McConville said publicly that there is “no role for the U.S. military in determining the outcome of a U.S. election.” Milley’s spokesman will not comment on the record, and it is unclear if the chairman knew anything about McCarthy and McConville’s remarks beforehand.
There is still uncertainty within Trump’s own party as to whether he will take these comments as actual rejections. There are also fears that he may strike out more as it becomes clear that his options are off. On Tuesday, the president threatened to track down a $ 900 billion bipartisan $ COVID relief and state funding bill because he wanted it to include greater controls for Americans and disliked some of the spending provisions on more esoteric topics. On Wednesday, the White House recalled a message it had sent to helpers advising them to begin the process of moving out of the premises in the week of January 4th.
And Trump’s more eccentric and hardline boosters seem eager to keep his defiance against reality going.
“I think the president has some people right next to him who are trying to give up, and I think they have their own personal agendas, including people in his party,” MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a loyal Trump ally who funds several of the efforts to challenge the election result, told The Daily Beast. “And when everything is revealed and all the personal agendas come out, there will be a great purge. These people, like the lawyers in the White House [including Pat Cipollone] who begs him to give up our country … they should be ashamed of themselves. ”
Whether Kushner could do anything about this is highly unlikely. It is also not clear if he would be against it at all enough to actually do anything constructive. On Wednesday, New York Times reported that he had been contacted by “people who sought his help with Mr. Trump” and rejected their requests “by saying that the president was the grandfather of his children, suggesting that there are limits to what he can do for to help.”
It’s, as several Trump aides say, classic Jared.
“Jared does a fantastic job of taking care of himself and his own image and reputation [this month], ”Said one of the sources close to Trump. “That’s how many of us expected him to behave during this fight in the first place.”