At one point, Jared Kushner had it all. The thirty-seven year old multimillionaire was introduced by mutual friends to a model named Ivanka Trump, the eldest daughter of a billionaire celebrity, back in 2005. A little over a decade later, he is now the son-in-law and one of the closest confidants of the most powerful man in the free world. The meteoric rise of the once near-bankrupt real-estate developer from New Jersey would almost be inspiring. That is, if it wasn’t all about to fall apart.
When Kushner was awarded a senior job in the White House, many people were skeptical. President Trump hiring his inexperienced son-in-law practically screamed nepotism at first, but upon closer inspection, such a lack of political experience was seemingly a key quality in Trump’s early White House hires (Ivanka, Hope Hicks, Omarosa, etc). It’s a known fact that Trump himself had never worked in politics before being elected.
Thus, Kushner was hired without a hitch and was instantly put in charge of solving some of the country and the world’s most complex problems. Then it all began to unravel. Several news stories broke last year about Kushner failing to disclose contacts with several foreign officials on his security clearance application, his deepening business ties to Israel, and his sister’s selling of visas in China. As time went on, Kushner continued to butt heads with colleagues and close Trump allies, including Steve Bannon and Chris Christie.
Eventually, the senior adviser saw his expansive White House role dramatically decrease. The enigmatic in-law has maintained a relatively low profile since his unofficial demotion, gradually falling out of the headlines as other Trump officials’ misdeeds were thrust into the limelight.
Recently, however, Kushner’s name resurfaced with a vengeance as Chief of Staff John Kelly revoked the adviser’s temporary top-secret security clearance after months of failing to pass a background check to secure a permanent one. This reduction will almost certainly interfere with Kushner’s job responsibilities, which he already was having a hard enough time with (there is still no peace in the Middle East). Even worse, his father-in-law had an opportunity to override the security clearance reduction and chose not to. This is a significant change from how President Trump usually operates, often depending on his daughter’s husband’s advice over that of others. Allowing Kushner’s security clearance to be downgraded might be a message to both Jared and Ivanka that it’s time to go back to New York, just as one of their top aides is doing.
This relegation would already be a significant loss for Kushner, but somehow his day just kept getting worse. Only a few hours after the story about his security clearance broke, another story hit him even harder. Four foreign powers allegedly had discussions as to how Kushner could be influenced due to his lack of experience, knowledge, and financial vulnerabilities. Not only is this a further embarrassment for the embattled adviser, but serves as more fuel for special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into members of the Trump campaign. This report raises more questions about Kushner’s questionable foreign contacts and prompts Mueller to look even more closely at the millionaire’s fishy financial situation.
There’s no getting around it: Jared Kushner is in hot water. His massive debt continues to soar, he’s reportedly being taken advantage of by the Chinese, he’s losing the war with John Kelly, he’s fallen right into Mueller’s crosshairs, his security clearance has been downgraded, and there’s still no peace in the Middle East.
Jared and Ivanka are most likely the only employees Trump will never consider firing. A little over a year into their White House tenure, it might be best for them if he did. Every week Kushner stays becomes a bigger distraction and humiliation for all involved.
These next four years were meant to be a stepping off point for Jared and Ivanka, who both foresaw big things in their future. Ivanka hoped that one day she would end up like her father. Now, as Mueller circles around him like a vulture, it seems more and more likely that Jared might end up like his.
Photo: Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post / Getty Images