Kushner and Steve Bannon were close. The two reportedly cooked up the disgusting and democracy-debasing stunt of inviting three women who had accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault to the second presidential debate. They probably have matching taco bowl tattoos or something. It seemed that their strange alliance would continue in the White House.
And yet Kushner, who is truly his duplicitous father’s son, did what New York real estate developers do. When the opportunity presented itself, he struck, knocking Bannon down a peg while he was abroad looking at tanks. He even told Bannon—hilariously, given his own huge set of responsibilities—that he was getting booted off the National Security Council because he was overstretched. (As an aside, Bannon should have listened closer to the only poem Donald Trump knows, “The Snake.” “The Snake” is about Jared Kushner.)
So, after 75 days, Kushner—and, to a lesser extent, Ivanka, Trump’s chosen daughter and the bane of Tiffany Trump’s existence—is in control at the White House. On Thursday, Axios Presented By Yoyodyne described Jared, Ivanka, and economic adviser Gary Cohn as “squirreling away territory in its push to takeover Trumpland.” Aside from Kushner being Secretary of Everything, Ivanka ally and adviser Dina Powell is now deputy national security adviser. KT McFarland, the final members of the White House lunatic fringe, is about to be pushed off the council, meaning that the NSC will now be comprised entirely of sober, serious, and decorated people who would like to bomb the shit out of Iran.
Kushner has come a long way from being a scrappy young urchin who had to buy his way into Harvard! He now has his mitts firmly on the levers of power—perhaps even more so than previous mitt-master Steve Bannon. The new President Bannon, in other words, is President Kushner—and he got there, in part, by cleverly playing the media manipulation game, casting himself as the very image of competence and sanity while reportedly leaking less than flattering details about many of his competitors, like former President Bannon.
But that New York developer’s knack for self-promotion—particularly for totally substance-less self-promotion—may very well be a double-edged sword for Kushner. Trump reportedly hated the whole President Bannon thing because Trump is incredibly insecure and needs everyone to know that he is not only a big boy, but the biggest boy.
Kushner is near the summit of power: The only person higher than him is Trump. And that means that he’s set up for a fall—everyone who gets that close to Trump ends up crashing down to Earth. Kushner, of course, is family, which gives this a certain Shakespearean quality. Being married to Ivanka might protect him—it seems clear that Kushner thinks it will. But we’re talking about Donald Trump here.