WASHINGTON – Donald Trump believes that his sonin- law, an Orthodox Jew, may help further peace between Israelis and Palestinians, the President-elect told reporters with The New York Times on Tuesday.
Suggesting a government role for his family member, Trump said that Jared Kushner, the husband of his daughter Ivanka Trump, may somehow be involved in a Trump administration-led Middle East peace process, during a meeting with top editors and reporters from the newspaper at their New York City headquarters.
“I would love to be the one who made peace with Israel and the Palestinians,” the President-elect said, according to one Times reporter present at the meeting. “That would be such a great achievement.”
“Jared Kushner could help make peace between the Israelis and Palestinians,” tweeted another during the interview.
Kushner is reportedly seeking a role in the West Wing under his father-in-law, but faces an obstacle: a 1967 law prohibits public officials from hiring family members for positions over which that official would hold authority.
Kushner was a trusted adviser to Trump during his campaign for president.
Trump was also asked to address the growth of a movement known as the alternative- right – which self-associates with white nationalism, nativism and antisemitism – and tracked alongside his political rise.
“It’s not a group I want to energize. And if they are energized, I want to look into it and find out why,” he said.
“Of course,” he then added, “I disavow and condemn them.”
White nationalist, proto-fascist and neo-Nazi groups came out of the woodwork to support Trump’s unconventional campaign for president over the course of the last year, for one reason or another seeing in his cause their own. But while Trump has disavowed their support in the past, his choice for chief White House strategist, Stephen Bannon – who once proudly ran the “platform for the alt-right” website Breitbart.com – caused alarm among Jewish and civil rights groups.
“I think it’s very hard on him. I think he’s having a hard time with it. Because it’s not him,” Trump said of Bannon. “Breitbart is just a publication. If I thought he was a racist or alt-right, or any of the things, the terms we could use, I wouldn’t even think about hiring him,” he added.
In the wide-ranging interview, Trump appeared to reiterate his “different view” on the Syrian crisis and on the wisdom of further American involvement there. During his presidential campaign, Trump said the US should coordinate with Russia and Syrian President Bashar Assad against Islamic State terrorists, echoing the positions of those governments that identifying which rebel groups are moderate and which are radical can not be done with confidence.
“Syria, we have to solve that problem,” he told the Times
Also on Tuesday, Trump’s charitable foundation was shown to have violated a ban on so-called “self-dealing,” by transferring income or assets to a “disqualified person,” according to a copy of its 2015 tax filings made public this week.
The Donald J. Trump Foundation’s Internal Revenue Service forms, first reported by The Washington Post
on Tuesday, showed the organization answered “yes” when asked if it had transferred “any income or assets to a disqualified person.”
Asked if it had violated the ban on so-called self-dealing in prior years, the foundation also answered “yes” on the forms, which were also viewed by Reuters. According to the IRS, self-dealing can include the “transfer to, or use by, or for the benefit of, a disqualified person of the asset of a foundation,” except for certain exemptions.
Trump responded to questions about his business and potential conflicts of interest, saying the law is “totally on my side.” One reporter wrote on Twitter that the President- elect said: “I’d assumed that you’d have to set up some type of trust or whatever, and you don’t.”
Reuters contributed to this report.