The Slatest

Kushner Mystery: Is Trump’s Son-in-Law Telling Him to Concede or Keep Fighting?

Jared Kushner walks down steps off of an airplane.
Jared Kushner steps off Air Force One upon arrival at Trenton-Mercer Airport in Ewing Township, New Jersey, on Oct. 31. Mandel Ngan/Getty Images

President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has worn many hats in the White House. As a senior adviser to the president, Kushner has been a Middle East peace negotiator, a coronavirus expert, a trade negotiator, and a criminal-justice reformer, to name a few. Now it seems he may be wearing conflicting hats all at once as reports from inside a White House in disarray after the election was called for Joe Biden offer decidedly conflicting information.

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Some say he may be the one who gets the unenviable job of pushing Trump to understand he lost the election and that it’s time to stand down. At least that’s according to the two sources who told CNN’s White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins that Kushner has approached Trump about conceding the election.

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But that reporting conflicts with what others are saying in their dispatches from inside the White House. According to the New York Times and Axios, Kushner is actually one of the strong proponents of pursuing a legal strategy to contest the election in court. The way the New York Times tells it, Kushner was among the minority of the president’s aides who “had doubted that Mr. Biden was likely to win.” Kushner, according to the Times’ Maggie Haberman and Michael Shear, had been at the lead of getting a team together to contest vote counts. Axios’ Jonathan Swan appears to be hearing something along those lines with one source telling him that Kushner has advised Trump to pursue “legal remedies” to the election.

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Earlier dispatches from inside the White House noted that the president’s advisers were largely divided in two camps, one that saw a path forward and another that felt it was time to admit the president was not going to win reelection. The president’s family was painted as being in the let’s-keep-fighting camp. Whatever the case may be, it seems that the number of Trump aides who see a path forward keeps dwindling.

Earlier, Collins had reported there was increased talk among Trump aides about “who is going to be the person that’s going to reckon with the president and tell him that his time in office could be coming to an end.” At the time, it seemed the president’s family was the obvious choice. “That’s a conversation that I’m told the president’s allies are still having, they’re not sure who that person is going to be,” Collins said. “They’ve talked about Jared Kushner, someone like an Ivanka Trump, but they haven’t figured out who it is to bring the president to terms with reality.”

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Regardless of the details, if someone really is approaching the president about conceding, it doesn’t seem that he had much of an influence. On Sunday morning, Trump tweeted quotes from Jonathan Turley and Newt Gingrich that raise questions about election fraud with Gingrich outright claiming that the election was stolen. The tweets don’t make it seem that Trump has had much of a change of heart since he released a statement Saturday saying that the election was “far from over.”

Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s deputy campaign manager, confirmed there has been no communication between any representatives from the Trump and Biden campaigns after the race was called Saturday.

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