White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is counting the days until he finally can say goodbye to his job in the Trump administration, and that means President Donald Trump should be naming his replacement any day. Unfortunately for the President there appears to be only one enthusiastic contender, and that’s his son-in-law Jared Kushner.
We’ve already seen a number of potential candidates demurely turn down the President’s overtures when approached about taking over the high stress, low prestige assignment, with leading candidate Nick Ayers even going as far as to quit his own Chief of Staff role with Vice President Mike Pence and leave DC to avoid the job. Unlike others, Kushner is clamoring to be the next COS, and he’s not taking no for an answer.
“After the vice president’s Chief of Staff Nick Ayers turned down the offer to replace Kelly, the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner — who is currently senior advisor to the president — is now a contender, according to CBS,” People reports. “Kushner, who is married to the president’s daughter and senior advisor Ivanka Trump, met with Trump on Wednesday to discuss the position, CBS reported.”
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In some ways it would be an excellent fit. After all, one of the biggest concerns the next Chief of Staff would have is that the legal net is tightening around the President and whether his closest advisers would get caught in the crossfire. Kushner however, is already knee deep in all of the investigations of foreign influence in the White House and the 2016 election. From his participation in the infamous Trump tower meeting with Russian contacts prior to the election to new revelations that Kushner replaced Trump lawyer Michael Cohen as the liaison to the National Enquirer, which was accused of acting as a conduit for paying hush money to kill stories that could damage the then-presidential-candidate’s campaign run, Kushner is already as deep in the middle of trouble as his father in law.
If there is any doubt that Kushner really, really wants the job, you can just take a look at recent allegations that he may be torpedoing other potential candidates in order to boost his own chances. Take former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who was allegedly being considered for the Chief of Staff role until suddenly and abruptly he… wasn’t.
“Had Trump simply taunted Christie, once again, with the prospect of a White House job, only to jilt a former rival? Did the president’s resentful son-in-law use his family veto power to block the appointment of the man who humiliated his father?” asks Vanity Fair. “Perhaps it was the opposite: later Friday afternoon, The Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey reported that ‘people close to Christie’ were resentful that Trump ‘had toyed with him’ by passing him over for vice president and attorney general, and knocking him off the transition team. Multiple White House aides and advisers had told Dawsey that Christie was a front-runner for the job (‘POTUS was quite interested’) — right up until the moment that Christie declined. (There is also the small matter of Christie’s soon-to-be published memoir, which promises ‘frank appraisals’ of Trump associates, including Kushner.)”
At this point the likelihood of a Kushner promotion is so inevitable that even Republican lawmakers are resigned to it occurring. According to The Hill, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said during an appearance on Fox News that his “informed guess” was that Kushner will be the one to get the job. “I believe the president views this conflict period coming up with House Democrats as one where he needs loyalist people closest to him,” Gaetz said on Fox, The Hill reports. “I’ll go ahead and make that prediction, that Jared Kushner will be the next chief of staff.”
It’s no surprise that President Trump would choose loyalty over any other consideration for his next Chief of Staff. After all, you can’t successfully execute collusion without a circle of loyal yes men to help you out.