President Donald Trump’s top adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner thinks he can convince the Democrats to back the proposed border wall the same way he oversaw a bipartisan overhaul of the federal criminal justice system last year, Axios reports.
Last year, Kushner took credit for the bipartisan criminal justice bill that had long been supported by lawmakers on both sides because he was able to convince Trump to finally back the bill, which got 87 votes in the Senate Last week, he attempted to replicate the makings of that bill by holding a planning session with the Koch network and other people who worked on the criminal justice bill.
“They would like to try and replicate at some level a bipartisan coalition on immigration issues, something paired with border security as well,” Koch Industries senior vice president Mark Holden told Axios.
The outlet noted that some on the left worry that Kushner lacks the experience to push through a comprehensive immigration bill while conservatives worry that he is a New York liberal who was registered as a Democrat before Trump’s 2016 bid.
“It would be wise [for the White House] to be in touch with the president’s base as any such legislative deal is being created,” Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin told Axios. “Many of the strongest parts of the president’s base do not want amnesty, and the president’s promise to secure the border is what drew those voters to him from early in his campaign.”
White House officials “stunned” at Jared’s hubris:
Axios reported that two senior White House officials were “stunned” that Kushner believes “he could be the mediator who solves one of the most intractable problems in American politics for the past 20 years.”
One of the officials told the outlet that the success of the criminal justice reform had little to do with Jared.
“He convinced Democrats to support something they already agreed with," the senior official said.
Jared not negotiating with Democrats, only Republicans:
Two other senior White House officials told Axios that Kushner has “almost exclusively been talking to Republicans” during the immigration talks.
“Right now [Kushner is] just trying to understand the Republican position so that we can take all those views to the president and he can make an informed decision,” the official said.
Of course, Jared believed that Trump’s shutdown approach would divide Democrats and moderate would split from Nancy Pelosi to back Trump’s proposed wall. The New York Times reported that Kushner was surprised that just one Democrat backed the proposal while many Republicans split and backed the Democratic plan.