President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, seem to be losing a struggle for power inside a White House controlled by right-wing extremists.
Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, are orthodox Jews who observe the Shabbat, and Vanity Fair reported that some of the president’s most clumsy bloopers have come while the couple had stopped working or using technology from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.
“To me, that’s not a coincidence,” a source close to Kushner told the magazine. Kushner is seen as a soothing impact on his father-in-law, but his weekly sabbatical has left the president to his own devices for a full day on the weekends.
That, so far, has proven dreadful.
The day after his inauguration, while his daughter and son-in-law were out of pocket, Trump personally called the Park Service to bother officials about the size of his inauguration crowd.
Trump then went to CIA headquarters, where he gave a self-boasting speech complaining about media coverage of him and his inauguration crowds.
The president next ordered his press secretary, Sean Spicer, to harangue reporters and boast the inauguration was the largest such audience in history.
FIRST FULL DAY
A source noticed Kushner wasn’t around on Trump’s disastrous first full day in office, and he wasn’t there Friday when Trump signed an executive order, just minutes before sundown, banning refugees from certain majority-Muslim nations.
NOT THERE SATURDAY
Kushner wasn’t around Saturday, as protests erupted at airports across the U.S. and families were separated and detained as confused immigration officials attempted to sort out Trump’s executive order.
That’s not to say that Kushner and his wife aren’t capable of stumbling into their own mistakes — such as sharing a glamorous photo of themselves as the protests raged.
Kushner has been seen as the “secure line” so far, a source told Vanity Fair, in a White House dominated by ex-Breitbart chief Steve Bannon and political operative Stephen Miller.
But Kushner’s influence may be waning already, the magazine reported.
He spent hours last week trying to set up a meeting between his father-in-law and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to discuss Trump’s proposed border wall — but that all fell apart after Trump tweeted the face-off should be canceled if Mexico was unwilling to pay for the wall.
“Kushner was fucking furious,” the source told Vanity Fair.
CHANGE IN RELATIONSHIP
The source said Kushner had lost seven pounds and grown pale since Inauguration Day, and his relationship with his father-in-law appears to have changed.
Kushner hasn’t commented on last week’s White House statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which neglected to mention Jews and anti-Semitism — but the issue is clearly important to his family.
A 1982 interview with his late grandmother, Rae Kushner, circulated widely over the weekend, after Trump’s immigration ban, that strongly criticized the U.S. for not accepting Jewish refugees during the Nazi era.
“For the Jews, the doors were closed,” his grandmother said, 35 years ago. “We never understood that. Even President Roosevelt kept the doors closed. Why? The boat, St. Louis, was turned back. What was the world afraid of? I don’t understand.”