Respected New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman says that numerous sources within the White House have told her that Jared Kushner has essentially stepped into the role of chief of staff. While speaking on CNN’s New Day on Wednesday morning, Haberman said that Donald Trump’s son-in-law has, in essence, pushed acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney aside and is overseeing day-to-day tasks.
“Mick Mulvaney is not seen internally as a particularly strong chief of staff, and that’s because he is not providing much of a buffer between the staff and the president,” she said. “Jared Kushner has been rising internally, we’ve seen him part of these negotiations on the hill, even though he really doesn’t have a ton of relationships beyond his work on criminal justice reform.”
Haberman told CNN hosts John Berman and Alisyn Camerota that Kushner had a good deal of influence during the Trump campaign and that while he claimed to be focused on his own projects, in reality, he was also behind the scenes managing things.
Haberman is an American journalist who has worked for the New York Times, CNN, Politico, and the New York Daily News. She won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for reporting on the relationship between Russia and Donald Trump’s advisers, so she has a good understanding of the background of what is taking place in the White House.
Trump has given Haberman exclusive interviews and she has developed a relationship with numerous employees at the White House, which means that she is often keyed-in to the “palace intrigue” taking place in D.C.
She tweeted on Tuesday that several of those sources have told her over the past few days that Kushner is running the show in the White House.
“He is feeling ascendant,” she said of Kushner.
Recurring theme from sources over last two days: Kushner is the de facto chief of staff, whether people realize it or not.— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) January 15, 2019
Haberman also discussed Chris Christie’s new book Let Me Finish, in which Christie discusses Kushner, claiming that Trump’s son-in-law was responsible for getting Christie removed from the Trump transition team.
“Steve Bannon … made clear to me that one person and one person only was responsible for the faceless execution that Steve was now attempting to carry out,” Christie wrote.
Haberman confirmed that there was no love between Kushner and Christie after Christie put Kushner’s father in prison decades ago.
Haberman went on to comment on Christie’s claims that the Trump administration is full of unqualified individuals, “grifters,” and “unconvicted felons.”
She said that there is a valid claim that Trump was surrounded by a dysfunctional team during the transition, and so while it is understandable that Christie would want to defend his legacy, there is also evidence that the Trump administration has been plagued by disorder.