Aides in Washington toiled all week trying to get the health care reform bill over the finish line
But Jared Kushner, the President's adviser and son-in-law, was out West skiing
While the rest of his senior staff scrambled to squeeze votes for President Trump’s flailing health care package, one person remained notably absent for most of the week: Jared Kushner.
Along with this wife, Ivanka Trump, another key cog in the president’s inner circle, Kushner was on vacation until Thursday, skiing with family in the posh Colorado town of Aspen. Paparazzi caught Jared and Ivanka taking leisurely strolls, enjoying ice cream cones with their three kids and winding their way down the slopes.
Meanwhile, back in Washington, Trump was fuming. According to a source close to the president, “[Trump] is upset that his son-in-law and senior adviser was not around during this crucial week.” Kushner did appear at the White House on Friday during the last gasps of the Obamacare repeal effort.
A White House spokesperson flatly denied the President is frustrated with Kushner.
But it was clearly a busy week at the White House. As the health care bill teetered on the precipice without enough Republican votes to pass it, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the President “left everything on the field” in his efforts to get the bill passed. Republicans ultimately pulled the bill without a vote, a blow to Trump’s early agenda.
It has not been entirely clear what specific role Kushner, who has no Capitol Hill or Washington background, would have played in a legislative effort.
When Ivanka and the kids took off for Aspen last weekend, sharing a ride on Trump’s private 757 jet with Donald Trump, Jr. and his family and Eric and Lara Trump, Jared did stay behind in Washington. However, he only worked Monday, and by that evening was himself flying out to join the rest of the Trump clan. On Tuesday, an Instagram photo from Lara Trump showed Kushner and Ivanka on top of a mountain.
And as the week wore on and it was clear back home on that Trump’s cornerstone campaign pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare was floundering with lawmakers, Jared remained out West, leaving to Vice President Mike Pence, Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus and Kellyanne Conway the arduous task of selling the plan on Capitol Hill.
Ivanka’s absence this week was also noted; she Instagrammed important White House moments, mentioning support, but she wasn’t at her usual place, seated at roundtable discussions, or standing beside her father’s chair in the Oval Office. Instead, there she was in Aspen, toting her kids, wearing $585 Dior sunglasses – and leaving her new West Wing digs vacant, opting instead for quality spring break time with her immediate family.
Kushner’s plan to stay out-of-office this week while the health care package faltered could mean he’ll get some of the blame from his father-in-law. Trump is reportedly already pointing fingers at his top staffers for what he considers shoddy support. Or, Kushner could perhaps avoid the entire debacle; the Orthodox Jew typically stays away from work after sundown on Fridays.
Correction: Kushner did appear at the White House on Friday.