The power couple of the White House, the Untouchables who are not only Donald Trumps family, but two of a handful that have survived all the scandals that the Trump administration has faced in his first year.
They spent their first year in Washington commanding expansive portfolios, outlasting rivals and enjoying unmatched access to the president. But the couple have undergone a swift and stunning reckoning of late, their powers have become restricted, their enemies emboldened and their future in the administration uncertain.
Kushner, considered as the second-most powerful man in the West Wing, is under siege. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law has lost influential White House allies.
He remains under the spotlight with the Russia probe and has seen his business dealings come under renewed scrutiny. He has also been stripped of his top security clearance, raising questions how he can successfully advance his ambitious agenda; including achieving ‘Mideast peace’, a goal that has eluded presidents for generations.
Donald Trump has become less vocal about his family, it almost seems like Trump is prepairing himself for the worst. If Jared comes under real pressure to leave his post, can the president distance himself far enough to quash any direct allegations towards him? And furthermore if Kushner does leave, Ivanka will most definitely have to follow suit.
A frustrated president has griped about the wave of bad headlines generated by probes into Kushner’s business dealings and the status of his security clearance, according to two people familiar with the president’s thinking but not authorised to publicly discuss private conversations. The president also has wondered aloud if the couple would be better off returning home to New York.
At the same time, though, Trump has said he believes many of the attacks against Kushner are unfair and has lamented that the couple is going through such a turbulent time, according to the two people close to the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about Trump’s private comments.
A week ago, Kushner’s security clearance level was downgraded, leaving White House aides to wonder just how many indignities Kushner and Ivanka Trump are willing to suffer.
Even if recent events and revelations don’t trigger a departure, they have demonstrated that the West Wing clout of the couple is a far cry from what it once was.
In a White House populated with attention-seekers, Kushner has been an ascetic, discreet figure. Almost always standing at the periphery in dark business suits, Kushner is rarely heard in public, his impact felt but not seen. His diplomatic trips abroad have either been shrouded in secrecy or conducted with minimal media coverage.
Some West Wing observers suggested that the mercurial president, who prizes loyalty and family, could at some point move to re-establish Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s clout. But at Washington’s annual Gridiron Dinner on Saturday, he opted for a laugh line about their situation.
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