I think Jared might want this mainly as a f***-you to his nemesis, John Kelly. Getting the guy fired is a victory. Taking his job is a total rout.
God forgive me, but I’m talking myself into believing this wouldn’t be a completely garbage choice.
Or, let me rephrase: When all of the potential choices are garbage in different ways, can any one of them truly be called garbage?
Jared Kushner, the husband of Trump’s daughter Ivanka and already an official White House adviser, met with Trump Wednesday about the job, a top Republican close to the White House told HuffPost. He and two others close to Trump or the White House who confirmed Kushner’s interest in the position did so on condition of anonymity to discuss the president’s staffing considerations freely.
Kushner has been pushing his own candidacy with Trump, citing his work on a criminal justice reform package and a claimed ability to work with Democrats, one person said. “I don’t know why he thinks that, when the Democrats are mainly going to be coming after Trump,” the source said.
Let’s run through the checklist for chief of staff in Jared’s case:
1. Loyal to Trump? Yes.
2. Trusted by Trump? Yes.
3. Able to reach out to Democrats? Reach out? He is a Democrat!
4. Working relationships on the Hill? As weird as it is to say this about a thirtysomething who worked in real estate less than two years ago — yes. Kushner’s been meeting with power-brokers in Congress and abroad since Trump was sworn in. Everyone understands that he holds unusual sway over the president due to his family connection so everyone’s been eager to lobby him. In a way, he already is chief of staff. Trump would just be making it official.
5. Capable of brokering legislative compromise? Another strange and unlikely yes. By all accounts he was the chief Trump-whisperer on criminal justice reform, the man who convinced POTUS to spend a little political capital in backing an idea that wouldn’t be an easy sell to his base. Then Kushner put his own skin in the game by doing a rare interview on “Hannity” to sell the plan. He was persistent enough that Mitch McConnell went from claiming there was no time to put the bill on the floor to agreeing to take it up before year’s end. It’s among the more surprising legislative developments of Trump’s presidency. Could anyone else aside from one of Trump’s own children have convinced him to do it?
6. Willing to slug it out with Russiagate enemies? Yet another improbable yes. It was Jared who allegedly encouraged Trump to take the fateful step of firing James Comey, igniting the obstruction-of-justice part of Russiagate and leading directly to Bob Mueller’s appointment. Not the smartest decision in hindsight. But Trumpers want someone who fights!, particularly who fights with POTUS’s DOJ inquisitors. Kushner’s been willing to do that.
7. Potentially facing indictment? This isn’t an official job qualification, more of an informal requirement given that virtually everyone in Trump’s orbit is now under investigation. But for the record, sure. Jared’s got this box checked too.
So: Why not? It’s an open question whether Trump would heed advice given to him by a Newt Gingrich or David Bossie but there’s no doubt that he listens to Kushner. And West Wing staff are already familiar with him. There’d be no adjustment period as everyone’s forced to get used to the new guy’s foibles. The longer this job search wears on, the more likely it is that we arrive at one of two bad outcomes — namely, Trump either names someone like Seb Gorka chief of staff or decides that he doesn’t need a chief of staff at all and goes into full “wing it” mode. Might as well pick Jared.
Here he is today claiming that the list is down to five.