West Wing New Yorkers take on Bannon

‘Ivanka and Jared Kushner primary opponents of populist strategist’

April 18, 2017 00:26
1 minute read.
Jared Kushner

Senior staff at the White House Kellyanne Conway, Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon (L-R) applaud before being sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence in Washington, DC January 22, 2017.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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WASHINGTON – It’s the New Yorkers versus Steven Bannon.

That is the narrative coming out of the West Wing, cataloged by several senior White House aides in an article published this weekend in The New York Times.

The piece, which investigates first daughter Ivanka Trump’s exceptional role in her father’s administration, claims that she and her husband, Jared Kushner, are the primary opponents of the president’s far-right, populist chief strategist.

Ivanka and Jared are reportedly incensed by the out-sized role Bannon has achieved for himself in the administration, and over the credit he received in the media for allegedly orchestrating Trump’s electoral victory. They seek to minimize his role, the Times reported, and have to an extent succeeded in convincing US President Donald Trump to do so.
Jared Kushner and Steve bannon meet and agree to end White House feud (REUTERS)

Bannon came to prominence through his work at Breitbart, a website that he characterized as the “platform for the alt-right” that has been accused by Jewish organizations of being tolerant of antisemitic discourse.

Ivanka and Jared occupy a role unusual for a modern administration: They are immediate family members advising the president, on issues ranging from Middle East peace to opioid abuse.

Their internal campaign against Bannon and his team has come at a cost. They, along with National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, now represent to the far Right a group of Jewish New Yorkers who are taking on a man who campaigned against a banking elite and appealed to antisemitic tropes over the role of Jews in finance and government. Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are Orthodox.

While they represent quite a common brand of Republican Jews in New York – fiscally conservative but staunchly pluralistic – their unique role and their particular political foe may feed into a narrative adopted by Trump’s base: One of a small group of Jews fighting the masses, including those that elected Trump as president.

Trump allegedly agrees he should be given credit for his populist messaging during the campaign, and has agreed to sideline Bannon – a more effective long-term tactic than letting him loose into the wild. But Bannon’s base of supporters is already reacting to their infighting in predictable ways.

The Anti-Defamation League reported last week a significant spike in antisemitic rhetoric targeting Kushner. The rhetoric has gone from casual attacks to a “full-bore campaign,” the group said.

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