Jared Kushner Could Be The Next Steve Bannon

by Jenny Hollander

As high-ranking official after high-ranking official departs the White House, two figures seem to be there for good: Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner. As advisers to the president in addition to being family members, their opinions carry weight with Trump (albeit not enough for Trump to move forward on any of Ivanka's more progressive suggestions). A Vanity Fair story in May spoke about the "civil war" between Kushner and Steve Bannon, the embattled White House strategist whose departure from the Trump administration was announced Friday.

Rumors have flown for months that Trump had been caught between two partisan sides within the administration: Kushner and Ivanka identify as moderates, whereas Bannon gleefully occupies the far-right space. Both are regarded as Trump's most trusted advisers, but each has a different position on how Trump should run his administration. Notably, Bannon apparently called Kushner a "cuck," a globalist, and a Democrat (an insult, in Bannon's eyes).

Vanity Fair's Sarah Ellison reported in May that, while the two got along on the campaign trail, tensions ricocheted once the pair reached the White House. After the political catastrophe that was Trump's Charlottesville response, which sparked calls for Bannon's removal, Kushner appears to have won the battle, so to speak. Without Bannon in the White House, Kushner will have the president's ear — and could even potentially replace him as a strategist.

Bannon's departure on Friday wasn't much of a surprise; there have been rumors about his potential ouster for months now, since he reportedly fell out of favor with the president. Several journalists on Twitter cited a source close to Bannon, who said: "Democrats have seized control of the White House. Kelly, HR [McMaster], Gary, Jared [and] Ivanka are all Democrats."

Ultimately, though, what Bannon thinks of Kushner doesn't matter anymore now that he's out at the White House. Kushner's reputation with the American people is way more important, and right now, that's a somewhat open-ended question. Kushner's obvious ties with the Trump administration have prejudiced many against him, and many people within the American Jewish community have called him out for being silent on the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend.

But the reality is that most people know hardly anything about him — one of the few running gags about Kushner is that nobody knows what his voice even sounds like. Kushner still has room to surprise, and if he really has "seized control of the White House," it could be a very different place in the coming months.