Sources: Trump's son-in-law Kushner could get key White House job

The Jewish New Jersey real estate scion married to Trump's daughter Ivanka, helped guide the president-elect to victory last week and is poised to remain an influential adviser.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS
November 17, 2016 10:14
3 minute read.
jared kushner trump

Donald Trump greets his daughter Ivanka and son in law Jared Kushner (R) at his election night rally in Manhattan, New York, November 9, 2016. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Jared Kushner, Donald Trump's son-in-law, has been pushed to join the US president-elect's inner circle and is likely to take a key role in the incoming White House administration, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The report cited sources close to the presidential transition team who said Trump's recently-selected chief of staff Reince Priebus and senior counselor Stephen Bannon has been pushing for Kushner to assume a top job.

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According to the sources, Kushner is mulling both the possibility of a formal role in the White House, such as senior adviser or special counsel, and also an informal position without a formal administration role.

After winning a primary election that effectively clinched the Republican presidential nomination, Trump paused to laud the boyish-looking 35-year-old who ultimately proved to be an indispensable figure on the path to the White House.

"Honestly, Jared is a very successful real estate person. But I actually think he likes politics more than he likes real estate," Trump said of his son-in-law, standing to his right during a victory speech after the Indiana party primary election in May. "But he's very good at politics."

Kushner, the slender, clean-cut New Jersey real estate scion who married Trump's daughter Ivanka in 2009, helped guide the Republican Trump to victory last week over Democrat Hillary Clinton and is poised to remain an influential adviser during his presidency.

Kushner emerged as an important voice early in Trump's campaign, launched in June 2015. He was involved in almost every aspect of Trump's campaign, offering advice on key personnel decisions, strategy, speeches, fundraising and other areas.

Late in the campaign, he began laying the groundwork for a possible Trump-run television network, in the event his father-in-law lost, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Kushner spearheads his family's real estate development company, Kushner Companies, and is the publisher of the New York Observer weekly newspaper, which he acquired at age 25.

While a federal anti-nepotism law prohibits a president from hiring family members to serve in his administration, Kushner is set to remain a key insider and trusted confidant.

Kushner is an Orthodox Jew whose wife, Ivanka, converted to Judaism before they married. The family keeps kosher, observes the Sabbath and attends an upscale synagogue on New York's Upper East Side.

Reince Priebus, appointed Trump's White House chief of staff on Sunday, told NBC's "Today" show on Monday that Kushner "obviously" will be very involved in decision-making. Kushner serves on Trump's transition executive committee.


ANTISEMITISM CONTROVERSY

Stephen Bannon, former head of the right-wing Breitbart News website, took a leadership post in the campaign in August after it became clear that Trump, his children and Kushner trusted his advice and analysis, a source said at the time.

Breitbart News is closely associated with the "alt-right" movement, a loose online group of white supremacists, antisemites and others opposed to multiculturalism.

Trump, who takes office on Jan. 20, named Bannon as chief strategist and senior counselor on Sunday.

Dana Schwartz, a Jewish reporter for Kushner's newspaper, in July criticized Trump for his Twitter post accusing Clinton of corruption using a Star of David image and a background of $100 bills. Schwartz then wrote an open letter to Kushner after being deluged with anti-Semitic tweets.

Schwartz asked Kushner, "how do you allow this? Because, Mr. Kushner, you are allowing this. ... When you stand silent and smiling in the background, his Jewish son-in-law, you're giving his most hateful supporters tacit approval."

Jared Kushner and Stephen Bannon (Reuters)

Kushner responded by writing in the Observer, "In my opinion, accusations like 'racist' and 'anti-Semite' are being thrown around with a carelessness that risks rendering these words meaningless."

He went on to write that his grandmother and grandfather survived the Nazi Holocaust while other relatives did not.

"I know the difference between actual, dangerous intolerance versus these labels that get tossed around in an effort to score political points," Kushner wrote.

Kushner became a major player in real estate in his mid-20s, after his father's conviction. At 26, he orchestrated what was the most-expensive single-building purchase in US history in 2006 with the $1.8 billion acquisition of a 41-story skyscraper at 666 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

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