United States President-elect Donald Trump on Monday appointed his influential son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as a White House senior adviser on Monday, putting the young real estate executive in position to exert broad sway over both domestic and foreign policy, particularly Middle East issues and trade negotiations.
Mr. Trump has come to rely heavily on Mr. Kushner, who is married to his daughter Ivanka. Since the election, the political novice has been one of the transition team’s main liaisons to foreign governments, communicating with Israeli officials and meeting on Sunday with Britain’s foreign minister. He’s also huddled with congressional leaders and helped interview Cabinet candidates.
Ms. Ivanka Trump, who also played a significant role advising her father during the presidential campaign, will not be taking a formal White House position. Transition officials said the mother of three young children wanted to focus on moving her family from New York to Washington.
Mr. Kushner’s own eligibility for the White House could be challenged, given a 1967 law meant to bar government officials from hiring relatives. Mr. Kushner’s lawyer Jamie Gorelick argued on Monday that the law does not apply to the West Wing. She cited a later congressional measure to allow the President “unfettered” and “sweeping” authority in hiring staff.
In a statement, Mr. Trump said Mr. Kushner will be an “invaluable member of my team as I set and execute an ambitious agenda.”
Mr. Kushner will resign as CEO of his family’s real estate company and as publisher of The New York Observer. He will also divest “substantial assets,” Ms. Gorelick said, adding that Mr. Kushner would not be taking a salary. Ms. Ivanka Trump will also be leaving her executive roles at the her father’s real estate company, Trump Organization, and her own fashion brands.
Mr. Kushner, who turns 36 on Tuesday, emerged as one of Mr. Trump’s most powerful campaign advisers during the President-elect’s often unorthodox presidential bid as a calming presence in an otherwise chaotic campaign. Soft-spoken and press shy, he was deeply involved in the campaign’s digital efforts and was usually at Mr. Trump’s side during the election’s closing weeks.
Last week, Mr. Kushner and Bannon the controversial conservative media executive met with British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson.