Kushner, Bannon Meet to Clear the Air Amid Reports of Infighting

  • Trump’s son-in-law and chief strategist said to have clashed
  • Early days of Trump White House marked by factional divide

Jared Kushner’s Rise to Power Mirrors Trump's

Two of the top officials closest to President Donald Trump -- Stephen Bannon and Jared Kushner -- met Friday to reconcile their differences and put an end to the infighting that’s plagued the White House in recent days.

Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, and Kushner, Trump’s adviser and son-in-law, met at the urging of White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, who asked them to set aside their disagreements and focus on pursuing the president’s agenda, said a senior administration official familiar with the meeting.

Media outlets published a rash of news stories this week exposing the civil war within Trump’s inner circle, with anonymous sources describing factions led by Bannon and Kushner as being locked in perpetual battle.

Trump reorganized his National Security Council on Wednesday, removing Bannon from the principals committee on the same day the president was weighing options for a missile strike against Syria, his administration’s first major decision on a military action.

Bannon, the former executive chairman of Breitbart News, is among Trump’s most trusted yet most controversial advisers. He’s channeled the populist and nationalist sentiment that propelled Trump’s campaign, and his placement on the NSC committee drew criticism from some members of Congress and Washington’s foreign policy establishment, who said it risked politicizing the security advice provided to the president.

While he’s aligned with other White House aides, including Trump’s senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, Bannon has faced criticism for the troubled roll-out of the president’s executive order on immigration and the failed attempt in March to pass health-care legislation.

Rising Star

Meanwhile, Kushner’s star has been on the rise. The 36-year-old husband of Trump’s older daughter Ivanka recently returned from visiting U.S. troops in Iraq and was tapped to run a new initiative to streamline the federal government. He’s also played a key role in Trump’s foreign policy, including the U.S. relationship with China. In an administration where proximity often equates to power, Kushner was one of the U.S. officials sitting closest to Trump on Thursday as the president dined with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

Earlier in Trump’s administration, news coverage focused on possible tension between Bannon and Priebus, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee. The pair appeared together on stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February to show a public display of solidarity.

Since then, Trump has faced a number of setbacks to his young administration, including having an executive order on immigration blocked a second time by the courts, and failing to pass legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare.

As Trump was considering options this week to respond to a chemical weapons attack in Syria, news stories documented bitter infighting among his top staff.

Asked by reporters Thursday whether his administration needed a shakeup, Trump said he was proud of what his staff had accomplished.

“We’ve had a tremendous success,” he told reporters on Air Force One as he flew to Florida for his first meeting with Xi. “And we’ve just begun.”

— With assistance by Jennifer Jacobs

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