Ten days into the Trump administration, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner have already let America down. Despite claims that they would advocate for climate change and peace in the Middle East, so far their only visible contribution to the Trump White House has been an Instagram post that showed them decked out in eveningwear, as those affected by the immigration ban were detained in airports across the country. The internet derided the photo as the social-media equivalent of Marie Antoinette’s “let them eat cake.”
But now sources close to the First Couple Jr. are claiming that they had nothing to do with the discriminatory travel ban or its chaotic rollout — and they even have an alibi. President Trump announced his executive order minutes before the sun set on Friday night, and Vanity Fair reports that Ivanka and Jared were initially unaware of the uproar because they were observing Shabbat.
The couple, who are both Orthodox Jews, do not use technology or do work from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday. Kushner is often portrayed as a moderating force, both on his father-in-law and between the different factions in his orbit. One source suggested that’s why both Saturdays of the Trump administration were especially tumultuous. “He wasn’t rolling calls on Saturday when this happened,” a source said of the day after the inauguration. “To me, that’s not a coincidence.”
Sources tell Vanity Fair that Kushner can’t really be blamed for the other six days of the week either, because his influence over his father-in-law is already waning. He reportedly expended a great deal of effort to arrange Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto’s visit to the White House, only to have the president call off the meeting in an angry tweet. “Kushner was fucking furious,” said a source. “I’d never once heard him say he was angry throughout the entire campaign. But he was furious.”
Sources claim that despite what their tone-deaf social-media missive would have you believe, the stress is getting to Jared and Ivanka. Per Vanity Fair:
As for Ivanka, she feels just awful about advertising her opulent lifestyle at an inopportune moment.
Of course, someone must be blamed for the apparent disarray within the Trump administration, and if not the Kushners, then who? Initial reports suggested senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, who wrote the order, would take the fall. (Particularly after Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough looked into the camera and told Miller, “This weekend was a disgrace and it’s all on your shoulders.”)
Several sources told the Washington Post that the growing influence of Miller and Steve Bannon, the Breitbart wing of the Trump team, is making Priebus suspicious.
“A little bit of under-competence and a slight amount of insecurity can breed some paranoia and backstabbing,” the source said of Priebus. “We have to get Reince to relax into the job and become more competent, because he’s seeing shadows where there are no shadows.”
Nothing boosts confidence and cures paranoia like a colleague leaking some backhanded advice to the press.