The experience of working in President Donald Trump’s White House seems to land somewhere between House of Cards and Mean Girls. Just as quickly as someone rises to prominence as a member of Trump’s inner circle, they can just as quickly be kicked to the curb. Steve Bannon. Sebastian Gorka. Sean Spicer. Reince Priebus. You remember those guys.
Last week brought about an incredibly interesting development, even in the context of the parade of pink slips coming out of the West Wing. It might just be Jared Kushner’s turn to take that long walk from the Rose Garden back to private life, if recent reports are to be believed.
That pressure grew even stronger on Friday with new reports indicating that Kushner directed former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to contact then-Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak regarding a vote in the United Nations Security Council prior to Trump taking office. Flynn pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to the FBI regarding his contact with Kislyak.
Here are at the reasons why people are saying it might be time for the golden boy to go.
1) His shrinking job description
There was a time when the Trump administration viewed Kushner as a kind of secret weapon, offering his domain over a wide range of domestic and foreign policy subjects. Trump reportedly believed that Jared would single-handedly solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Kushner’s was given incredible latitude with his newly minted Office of American Innovation. Tackling subjects as disparate and complicated as the opioid epidemic and veterans’ affairs, the OAI was meant to kickstart the American economy with a heavy dose of Silicon Valley inspired innovation.
Now, those pie-in-the-sky daydreams have fallen back to Earth. Last week, the New York Times detailed how Kushner’s once vast White House portfolio has dwindled rapidly during his father-in-law’s first year in office.
After making it clear behind that scenes that Kushner’s role was diminished, Chief of Staff General John Kelly couldn’t do better than complimenting Kushner and his initiative than stating that he “sent some members of its team to Puerto Rico to report back on conditions.”
According to a more recent report from the Chicago Tribune, Kushner’s responsibilities have shrunk down the sole and impossible task of negotiating peace between Israelis and Palestinians. His latest successes include offending the Palestinians so badly that they have threatened to cut off diplomatic contact with the United States entirely.
2) His role in the Saudi incident
Kushner made an unexpected trip to Saudi Arabia last month, and it did not go so well. Mohammed bin Salman, the 32-year-old Saudi Crown Prince, sat up late into the night with Jared, by Kushner’s own admission. Kushner says they talked “strategy.” Whether this is true, and regardless of what that strategy was, this late-night rendezvous turned out to be a very bad look for Kushner. In the days after Kushner left, MBS launched a crackdown that ended in the arrest of dozens of prominent Saudis. This made the administration look complicit in what was essentially a coup, reportedly further diminishing Kelly’s trust in Kushner.
3) He is reportedly under investigation
As Special Counsel Robert Mueller broadens the scope of his investigation beyond the low hanging fruit of obviously sketchy officials like Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, it looks like Kushner is in his crosshairs. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Kushner may have been involved in a number of international issues during the election and transition period, potentially breaking both precedent and ethics laws. Some of his reported wrongdoing includes interfering with a U.N. resolution regarding Israel and prior knowledge of Russia’s interference in the United States election. It is alleged that Kushner met with a Kremlin-linked lawyer and a high-level Russian oligarch before Trump took office. As mentioned, Kushner also reportedly instructed Flynn to contact Kislyak about the U.N. resolution vote. It has already been established that Kushner neglected to list some of his foreign government contacts when applying for security clearances.
4) Kushner pushed for James Comey’s firing
The firing of former FBI Director James Comey has come back to haunt the Trump White House. In the previously mentioned article, WSJ reported that Kushner was a major force behind the decision to fire Comey. At the time, Kushner’s rationale was that the firing would sit well with both FBI rank and file and Democrats angered by Comey behavior during the election. It turns out he was wrong. Furthermore, Kushner didn’t consider that firing Comey could be viewed as obstruction of justice. As such, Mueller’s investigation now also includes the Comey firing.
5) Kushner supported Luther Strange
This one is particularly odd, considering that his opponent, Roy Moore, is a accused of sex crimes, but several outlets have reported that Trump is upset that Kushner encouraged him to support failed Alabama Senate candidate Luther Strange. It is widely known that Trump doesn’t like being associated with losers, but most would argue that Kushner helped the Donald dodge a bullet on that one.
6) Trump might want him gone
Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman reported that Trump actually wants Jared and Ivanka Trump, Kushner’s wife and a White House adviser, gone. A source told Sherman, “He keeps pressuring them to go.” President Trump reportedly is bothered by the negative press that Kushner and his daughter Ivanka have been receiving, and he has grown frustrated with Kushner’s more establishment-friendly political advice.
Jared and Ivanka may not be excited to get back to New York City, where the hostility of the city’s liberal social elite and massive debt from toxic real estate investments await them. Regardless, it looks like their time in the West Wing may be running out.