NEW YORK – President-elect Donald Trump’s influential son-in-law, Jared Kushner, will join the White House as a senior adviser, according to two people briefed on the decision. He’s taking a broad role that could give him sway over both domestic and foreign policy.
Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, is taking the West Wing job despite an anti-nepotism law that bars officials from appointing relatives to government positions. Some aides to Trump have argued that the law does not apply to the White House.
Kushner’s lawyer has said he would step down as CEO of his family’s real estate business if he took a White House position and would divest some of his assets in order to comply with federal ethics laws that apply to government employees. The law requires Kushner to take more significant steps to detangle his business interests than Trump, given that conflict of interest laws largely do not apply to the president.
“Mr. Kushner is committed to complying with federal ethics laws and we have been consulting with the Office of Government Ethics regarding the steps he would take,” Jamie Gorelick, a partner at the law firm of WilmerHale, said in a statement Saturday, before Kushner’s role was finalized.
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The two people briefed on Kushner’s White House job insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the matter before an official announcement. An announcement is expected later this week.
Kushner, 35, emerged as one of Trump’s most powerful campaign advisers during his father-in-law’s often unorthodox presidential bid. He was deeply involved in the campaign’s digital efforts and was usually at Trump’s side during the election’s closing weeks.
Since then, Kushner has continued to play a central role in the transition, taking part in Cabinet interviews and often getting a last word alone with Trump after a meeting concludes. Trump has invited him to listen to phone calls on another line, his presence sometimes not announced to the caller. And Trump has been known to call him late at night to review the day.
Like his father-in-law, Kushner pushed a mid-sized real estate company into the high-stakes battlefield of Manhattan. Though he is often viewed as more moderate than Trump, people close to him say he fully bought in to the Trump campaign’s fiery populist message that resonated with white working class voters. He never publicly distanced himself from Trump’s more provocative stances, including the candidate’s call for a Muslim-immigration ban and his doubts about President Barack Obama’s birthplace.
Prior to the campaign, Kushner and Ivanka Trump were not overtly political. Kushner’s father was a Democratic fundraiser while Ivanka, whose personal brand has a focus on young working mothers, counted Chelsea Clinton among her friends.