President Donald Trump has been known to flip-flop on policy and try to play both sides of an issue. And he has, on more than one occasion, been criticized for saying one thing in public and quite the opposite in private. Now, a new report alleges Trump's two-facedness has risen to new heights: According to The New York Times, Trump wants Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner gone from his administration. The president has allegedly sought to privately push the couple out all, while telling his daughter and son-in-law he wants them to stay.
Few people have had as rough a week as Kushner, who, along with being Trump's son-in-law, also serves as a senior adviser to the president. Last week, it was reported that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly had downgraded Kushner's interim security clearance and that Special Counsel Robert Mueller was investigating his communications with investors abroad.
Then, there was a Washington Post report alleging a number of foreign diplomats had talked privately about how they could manipulate Kushner. Shortly afterward, reports came out that a White House press aide who acted as Kushner's spokesman was planning to resign and, oh yeah, two U.S. companies had awarded Kushner's family business hundreds of millions of dollars in loans after meeting with him at the White House. Given those headlines, it's not so surprising that CNN recently reported Kushner felt like "everyone is out to get him."
But the person out to get Kushner may be President Trump himself, if the Times report is true. Unnamed aides told The Times that, "Trump has told [Kushner and Ivanka] that they should keep serving in their roles, even as he has privately asked Mr. Kelly for his help in moving them out." The Times also reported that aides said Trump sometimes said the couple "never should have come to the White House."
According to The Times, Trump has become frustrated with Kushner and now views him as "a liability." It's reportedly a mix of the negative publicity surrounding Kushner's downgraded security clearance, the investigation into loans his family business recently obtained, and various other missteps that mark what some are calling Kushner's fall from grace. "In private conversations, the president vacillates between sounding regretful that Mr. Kushner is taking arrows and annoyed that he is another problem to deal with," The Times reported.
The Times isn't the only news outlet to have reported possible tension simmering between Kelly and President Trump's daughter and son-in-law. Earlier in the week, CNN reported Kelly was "not initially enthusiastic" about Ivanka Trump leading a U.S. delegation to the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Trump's chief of staff has reportedly "grown increasingly frustrated" with the first daughter's presence in the White House since stepping into his role at the end of July, CNN reported. The news outlet also reported that Kelly privately told others he thought Ivanka Trump was "playing government" and described her child tax credit push as nothing more than "a pet project."
However, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has said "General Kelly and General McMaster were supportive of [Ivanka's Olympic] trip since the planning process began." She added that they "all thought it was a great success." It's worth noting that Sanders was a part of that U.S. delegation Ivanka Trump led in PyeongChang.
It remains unclear if Kelly (or Trump for that matter) are truly working behind the scenes to undermine Kushner and Ivanka Trump in the hopes of pushing them out of the White House. Despite the rough couple of weeks they've have had, the couple remain in the White House — at least for now.