President-elect Donald Trump announced his transition team Friday, with Vice President-elect Mike Pence as the chairman, replacing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. The team also boasts of daughter Ivanka Trump, sons Donald Jr. and Eric, and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who some analysts have called an important force behind Trump’s campaign.
Kushner, 35, is a real estate developer, investor and newspaper publisher who, at the age of 25, purchased the New York Observer newspaper in 2006. Ivanka’s husband has been deeply involved in Trump’s campaign, even writing some policy speeches during the run-up to the elections.
“Jared’s a very successful developer, and he just loves politics now,” Trump said of his son-in-law in November 2015.
“The first thing he did is he helped set up the digital operation for the campaign. Then he started setting up the policy shop. ... Before you knew it, Jared Kushner became the senior adviser to Donald Trump,” Monica Langley, senior writer at the Wall Street Journal, said of the Harvard University graduate.
An orthodox Jew whose grandparents were Holocaust survivors, Kushner helped Trump overcome allegations of being anti-Semitic during his presidential campaign.
In an editorial published in his newspaper, Kushner wrote: “The fact is that my father-in-law is an incredibly loving and tolerant person who has embraced my family and our Judaism since I began dating my wife. His support has been unwavering and from the heart. I have personally seen him embrace people of all racial and religious backgrounds, at his companies and in his personal life.”
Following Trump’s election as the 45th president of the U.S., there was speculation that Kushner will be picked to fill the position of the Republican’s chief of staff in the White House after he was spotted spending time with President Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff Denis McDonough while Trump and the president were engaged in dialogue.
The president-elect, however, put an end to the rumors by announcing Sunday that Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus will take over as the chief of staff for Trump’s administration. A reason behind Kushner not being picked for the job could be a 1967 anti-nepotism law that prohibits presidents and other executive office holders from appointing their relatives to positions under them.
Despite this, Kushner and wife Ivanka are set to hold significant roles in Trump’s transition as president. While no official announcement has been made regarding their role once the transition is complete, the president–elect has kept his family close to all major decisions taken by him in his journey to be elected, and this is likely to continue during his tenure as president.