Trump’s Jewish son-in-law could land a top White House position
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Trump’s Jewish son-in-law could land a top White House position

Jared Kushner mulls role of special adviser or counselor to the incoming president, encouraged by chief of staff Priebus and chief strategist Bannon, Wall Street Journal reports

Eric Cortellessa covers American politics for The Times of Israel.

Donald Trump shakes hands with son-in-law Jared Kushner during an election night party at a hotel in New York on November 9, 2016. (AFP / MANDEL NGAN)
Donald Trump shakes hands with son-in-law Jared Kushner during an election night party at a hotel in New York on November 9, 2016. (AFP / MANDEL NGAN)

WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump’s Jewish son-in-law may land a top job in the White House. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Jared Kushner is seriously considering becoming a senior adviser or special counselor under the new administration.

Kushner, the husband of Trump’s daughter Ivanka, was frequently by his father-in-law’s side throughout the campaign. He advised Trump on a host of issues, including his selection of a running mate, which led The New York Times to describe him as Trump’s “de facto campaign manager.”

Kushner also spearheaded the campaign’s data operation and helped craft some policy speeches, including Trump’s address at this year’s AIPAC Policy Conference, and was often the last person Trump spoke to before making any major decisions.

Aides familiar with the transition process told The Wall Street Journal that both Trump’s chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Stephen Bannon have encouraged Kushner to accept an official role in the nascent Trump administration.

The legality of Trump offering Kushner an official appointment, however, is uncertain. Congress passed an anti-nepotism law in 1967 that prohibits the president from appointing a family member — including a son-in-law — to work in an office or agency they oversee. The measure was passed after president John F. Kennedy appointed his brother, Robert Kennedy, as attorney general.

But the law does not appear to prevent Kushner from serving as an unpaid adviser, a move that commentators have speculated on as a possibility for him since Trump’s upset victory in last week’s election against Hillary Clinton.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, accompanied by, from second from left, wife Melania, daughter Ivanka her husband Jared Kushner, speaks during a campaign event in Waterloo, Iowa, February 1, 2016. (AP/Paul Sancya)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, accompanied by, from second from left, wife Melania, daughter Ivanka, her husband Jared Kushner, during a campaign event in Waterloo, Iowa, February 1, 2016. (AP/Paul Sancya)

If Kushner joined the White House, he would have to make serious decisions about his business. He is directly tied to Trump’s business interests through Ivanka, who oversees domestic and global expansion of the Trump Organization’s real estate interests.

Kushner also has deep business ties of his own, serving as CEO of his family’s New York-based real estate company and publisher of The New York Observer, a Manhattan-based newspaper read largely for its high society and real estate coverage.

To negate a possible conflict of interest, he would need to put control of his business interests into a blind trust and refrain from receiving any income from his real estate and media holdings.

According to the Kushner Companies’ website, the organization has completed more than $14 billion in transactions and $7 billion in acquisitions since 2007.

Kushner is an Orthodox Jew. Before he and Ivanka married, she underwent a rigorous conversion process under the tutelage of Rabbi Haskel Lookstein at the Upper East Side’s Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun.

The two — who observe Shabbat and keep kosher — now live on Park Avenue with their three children, the youngest of whom was born in March. If Kushner accepted a job working for his father-in-law, the couple would likely need to move to the nation’s capital.

Ivanka has said she will not take any formal role in the administration.

AP contributed to this report.

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