By now, Jared Kushner’s White House résumé is quite extensive. His father-in-law, Donald Trump, tasked him with brokering peace between Israel and Palestine, completing an environmentally destructive wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, reforming the criminal justice system, and building an “Office of American Innovation,” dedicated to making the government run like a business.
Despite his failing to follow through on any of these tasks, Trump also put Kushner in charge of the U.S. coronavirus response, complete with his own “shadow” task force made up of equally unqualified friends, which caused confusion about competing power structures.
Speaking to TIME for a January profile of Kushner, Brad Parscale, the Kushner-appointed manager for Trump’s campaign, said, “Nobody has more influence in the White House than Jared. Nobody has more influence outside the White House than Jared. He’s No. 2 after Trump.”
Parscale may actually have been underselling Kushner’s influence there. In a new story for Vanity Fair, Gabriel Sherman details how Kushner has filled the vacuum left by Donald Trump’s general lack of interest in governing:
“Jared is running everything. He’s the de facto president of the United States,” a former White House official told me. The previous chief of staff John Kelly, who’d marginalized Kushner, was long gone, and Mick Mulvaney, a virtual lame duck by that point, let Kushner run free. “Jared treats Mick like the help,” a prominent Republican said.
Current and former White House officials described to Vanity Fair a Kushner who is as vindictive and myopic as Trump himself. After the Senate acquitted Trump of impeachment charges without calling a single witness, Kushner reportedly pus