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Ivanka Trump, the president’s eldest daughter, and her husband, Jared Kushner, both top advisers to the president, are reportedly attempting to limit their responsibilities in the White House amid legal and logistical concerns about their expansive, sometimes undefined roles.
Associates of the couple, both of whom were heavily involved in President Donald Trump’s campaign and the early months of the administration, are narrowing their focus to their official portfolios, which remain significant, Axios reported Monday.
For Ivanka, this includes efforts related to boosting employment, passing paid family leave legislation and a child-care tax credit, STEM education, and a World Bank fund for women entrepreneurs in developing countries. She told the Financial Times in September that she has been advised to remain “laser-focused” on her policy goals, and said that she “will not be distracted by the noise” of politics.
Kushner is tasked with helping lead the Middle East peace process, policy related to NAFTA, and the White House Office of American Innovation, among other projects.
One colleague told Axios that the couple is deferring more to White House chief of staff John Kelly, who took over from Reince Priebus in August. Kelly has reportedly expressed frustrations about Kushner’s relatively undefined role and is implementing more discipline in the West Wing.
“They understand now that they don’t have to take on those responsibilities,” the source said. “Now there are proper channels, and they’re just doing what they’re supposed to be doing.”
While the pair remains two of the president’s closest confidantes, sources say the couple never planned to stay in Washington for the entirety of Trump’s first term, and have faced intense scrutiny from Democrats and the media.
Kushner was questioned by Congress about his contacts with Russian officials during the presidential campaign and is a subject of special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Trump has repeatedly lamented the criticism his daughter faces, telling her, “Baby, you’re getting killed, this is a bad deal,” Politico reported last week.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in the habit of referring to the couple as the “royal family,” Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, told clients following the UN General Assembly. Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon reportedly referred to the couple as “Javanka.”