- President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, reportedly considered the possibility of senior adviser Jared Kushner and Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, leaving the West Wing by the end of this year.
- Trump has also grown frustrated with Kushner’s political advice and is said to be urging his daughter and son-in-law to depart Washington, DC, and go back to New York.
- Calls for Kushner’s dismissal have grown since he began facing increased scrutiny in the Russia investigation.
President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, has considered the possibility of pushing senior adviser Jared Kushner and special assistant Ivanka Trump out of the West Wing by the end of the year, The New York Times reported on Saturday.
Kelly joined the White House in July after former chief of staff Reince Priebus departed and has sought to impose order upon a previously freewheeling West Wing. Before Kelly arrived, Kushner and Ivanka Trump enjoyed relatively unfettered access to Trump, coming and going to the Oval Office as they pleased, according to multiple media reports.
Since Kelly took over, however, multiple sources told The Times and The Washington Post that Kushner’s vast portfolio – which initially included achieving peace in the Middle East, solving the opioid crisis, fixing the Department of Veterans Affairs, and being the administration’s point person in dealing with China, Mexico, and Canada – has shrunk significantly. He now focuses primarily on working towards Middle East peace and oversees the Office of American Innovation.
Kelly, who stands as a buffer between Trump and the rest of the White House staff, has made it clear that he’s in charge, telling associates, “Jared works for me,” according to The Times. And three advisers said that Kelly has discussed the possibility of Kushner and Ivanka Trump leaving the Trump administration all together by the end of 2017.
Kelly pushed back against that notion, telling The Times that “there was honestly never a time when I contemplated getting rid of Jared and Ivanka.” He added that the Office of American Innovation, which Kushner conceptualized and now spearheads, has proven valuable.
Kelly is reportedly one of several in the Trump administration who want Kushner out. A Vanity Fair piece last week said Trump, too, wants his daughter and son-in-law to leave Washington, DC, and head back to New York.
“He keeps pressuring them to go,” a source told Vanity Fair.
Kushner is a central figure in the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
Mueller is reportedly investigating the president’s role in crafting a misleading statement his son Donald Trump Jr. released after it emerged that he met with a Kremlin-connected lawyerat Trump Tower in June 2016. Mueller is also examining whether Trump attempted to obstruct justice by firing James Comey as FBI director in May.
Kushner was also with Trump in Bedminster, New Jersey, during a weekend in early May when Trump put together a draft letter laying out the reasons he wanted to fire Comey.
Some members of Trump’s defence team also wanted Kushner out earlier this summer, as he faced increased exposure in the Russia investigation.
The Vanity Fair report added that Trump was becoming frustrated with Kushner’s political advice, including that Trump back Luther Strange in the runoff for the GOP nomination for the US Senate seat in Alabama previously held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.