Jared Kushner, POTUS Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, has attempted to take over shutdown talks and assured the president he can solve the dead end that the country is trapped in and reach a deal with Democrats, a report by The Washington Post suggested.
“Kushner has been a constant at the Capitol, ducking into meetings with party leaders and attempting to shepherd talks. He has mostly avoided speaking publicly, instead working from his sparsely decorated West Wing office where Reese’s candy is on the table, a Kanye West poster is above the door and photos of his wife, Ivanka Trump, are on his desk”, the edition wrote.
Insiders told the Post that Kushner played an active part in negotiations at a recent Oval Office meeting, enumerating at length potential areas of compromise and reasoning why they “could work”, but Trump’s reaction to that appeared rather sarcastic.
“Apparently, Jared has become an expert on immigration in the last 48 hours”, three people familiar with the verbal exchange recalled the president saying.
A person familiar with Kushner’s strategic approach was cited as noting that the aide has been focused on targeting Democrats, adding he has had positive conversations with many of them, yet retaining a stable relationship with the GOP quarters.
The president’s son-in-law reportedly doesn’t trust many of his White House colleagues, and has thus “kept others out of deliberations” in a bid to avoid leaks to the news media.
The attitude to him, meanwhile, varies from person to person: while many expressed appreciation for Kushner’s initiative, others continued to be sceptical about the aide, who has been under scrutiny in the Mueller probe and implicated in business affairs in Israel and China, branding his strategy “delusional”.
As the shutdown, which started in the run-up to the Christmas season, has entered its second month, White House aides express little certainty that a deal is anywhere in sight. Morale has plummeted, according to five White House officials cited by the Post, with “many desks in the building sitting idle”.
The current government shutdown, which has been caused by a dispute between President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats over funding to build a wall on the US border with Mexico, is the longest in US history, affecting some 800,000 federal workers, many of whom have been furloughed. Trump has asked Congress to earmark $5.7 billion to build the border wall to stem the flow of illegal migrants but Democrats have refused to meet the demand, suggesting allocating only $1.3 billion for the border enhancement.