If any member of President Donald Trump's immediate family has been the subject of almost constant speculation, scrutiny, and criticism, his son-in-law Jared Kushner definitely qualifies. And after Rudy Giuliani called Kushner "disposable" on national TV this week, according to a report from Politico, Kushner joked that if Ivanka didn't call him "disposable," he at least knows he's still OK.
Giuliani joined Trump's legal team last month, and it came as something of a surprise, as the former New York City mayor notably did not get a job in the Trump administration in 2017 despite spending months and months as a campaign surrogate. Since joining, he's been a frequent lightning rod for criticism and controversy, much as he was as a surrogate and cable news pundit.
During an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity earlier this week, Giuliani preemptively decried any attempt by special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate senior presidential adviser Ivanka Trump. He then noted that Ivanka's husband, by comparison, might be the "disposable" one in the equation.
"I guess, Jared is a fine man, you know that," Giuliani told Hannity. "But men are, you know, disposable. But a fine woman like Ivanka, come on."
It seemed as though Giuliani was making a joke, albeit a somewhat sexist one, suggesting that a "fine woman" like Ivanka would or should be off-limits for scrutiny or investigation, while her husband is fairer game. According to Politico, Kushner ― who in the past has sometimes reportedly reacted with frustration or combativeness when he's been challenged or undermined by other figures in his father-in-law's administration ― played Giuliani's remark off with a joke.
As long as his wife didn’t call him “disposable,” he joked to people, everything was going just fine.
Kushner and Ivanka were married in 2009, and have been together ever since. The pair have three children together, one daughter and two sons, and both have taken up residence in Washington, D.C. since Trump's victory in the 2016 presidential election.
What's decidedly abnormal about the pair's relationship to Trump, however, is the fact that they've both taken on considerable portfolios in the White House, with Ivanka acting as her father's senior adviser, and Kushner having reportedly operated during the first year of the administration as a virtual shadow secretary of state.
Ivanka, for her part, was frequently promoted during the presidential campaign as a potential moderating influence on her father, owing to her left-of-center views on some issues, like equal pay for women, paid maternity leave, and climate change. Last year, however, she reportedly began seeking to downplay expectations of her influence following a string of Trump decisions that cut against her stated views.
Kushner's access to classified materials has seemingly since dropped off, owing to his security clearance having been downgraded earlier this year. This has reportedly lessened his responsibilities and influence within the administration, which could be part of why Giuliani sees him as more "disposable" than Ivanka ― although really, the actual meaning of Giuliani's joke seemed pretty clear.
It remains to be seen what will come of Kushner and Ivanka's time in the nation's capital. In recent months, reports have suggested that even Trump himself might prefer to see them depart from public life, and return to the world of private enterprise that they previously both belonged to. Reports suggesting the pair might leave the White House ―whether of their own volition or because they're pushed out ― have been swirling around for a long while, however, dating clear back to last year, so it's unclear just how much stock you can put in any of them.