Donald Trump’s biggest week on the global stage was as notable for what it included—a Michael Bay-style movie trailer, homilies to Kim Jong Un’s “talent” and “love”—as for who it didn’t: Ivanka Trump and Kushner’s absence from the G7 and Singapore summits is being discussed and parsed by Trump advisers. “He’s staying out of everything,” one administration official told me. The consensus among the sources I spoke with is that Kushner is, finally, applying lessons he learned during his bruising first year in Washington, during which his absurdly broad portfolio rendered him a punch line.
It’s not that Kushner is hiding. As I reported yesterday, he’s exuding confidence now that his security clearance has been restored and he’s all but vanquished his foe, Chief of Staff John Kelly (not to mention he had a windfall investment year, raking in $82 million in 2017). Talk of Kushner returning to New York has quieted. “Jared is winning,” a former West Wing staffer said. But instead of trying to fix problems around the globe, Kushner has refocused on a much narrower agenda—and earning points with the sorts of coastal constituencies that have spurned him. Sources say that is partly why Kushner hosted his own Kim summit with Kim Kardashian, and is aggressively lobbying his father-in-law to pardon more people. It’s part of Kushner’s strategy to repair his reputational damage with liberals.