President Trump may still be wondering how he backed the wrong horse in the Alabama GOP senate primary. But Breitbart News and Steve Bannon already knows who to blame.
It’s all Jared Kushner’s fault.
According to the right-wing platform, ran by ex-White House political supremo Bannon, Kushner misled the president and pushed him to actively back establishment candidate Luther Strange, who lost by a 10% margin to firebrand Roy Moore.
For Breitbart News, where one top editor vowed to get Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump out of the White House by Christmas, the Alabama primary is shaping up as an opening salvo in the war to portray Kushner as the source of all political mishaps that are preventing Trump from implementing his agenda.
“In what is becoming a disturbing pattern,” wrote Breitbart’s John Nolte “Kushner was apparently one of those who advised the president to back Strange, to once again sail into big, jagged rocks — a humiliation for Trump that anyone with any real-world political sense should have (and did) seen coming from a mile away.”
The article blames Kushner’s “objectively awful advice” for making Trump look weak and for driving a wedge between the president and his right wing base.
In recent weeks, Bannon strongly backed Moore and turned Breitbart News into the lead platform for supporters of the Alabama judge who was kicked off the bench twice for defying court orders related to Ten Commandments and gay marriage.
Bannon was Kushner’s archrival in the White House, where he viewed Trump’s son-in-law as part of a centrist clique that is driving Trump away from the right-wing nationalist base that brought him to power.
With Bannon and former chief of staff Reince Preibus ousted, Breitbart suggested Kushner was running out of people to blame for Trump’s rocky presidency.
“How many ‘fool me once’ chances will the 36-year-old Mr. Kushner receive from his devoted father-in-law?” Nolte asked in his Breitbart article. He then went on to list the faulty advice given by Kushner to Trump, starting with the idea of firing FBI director James Comey, a move that led to the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel investigating the Russian involvement. Bannon, in an interview after his departure from the White House, described the firing of Comey as the “worst mistake in modern political history.” The Breitbart article also blames Kushner for convincing Trump to soften his stance on immigration, making Trump seem in the eyes of his base “weak and ill-served by his team.”
The laundry list of Kushner’s mistakes, according to Breitbart, also includes bringing aboard Anthony Scaramucci as short-lived White House communications director and the most recent affair involving Kushner’s use of a private email account for work-related communications.
The Bsreitbart article made no mention of Kushner being Jewish, but the story included a puzzling reference to Jewish Hollywood producers that could reinforce anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jewish power over the culture and media.
Nolte noted that producer David O. Selznick was initially mocked as “the son-in-law also rises” when he was appointed to a top position at MGM studios by his father-in-law. The jokes died down when Selznick created numerous smash hits for the studio.
Jared Kushner can so far claim no such successes, leaving him vulnerable to the wrath of his famously fickle presidential father-in-law.
Kushner’s main achievement, Nolte wrote, is “something that even the entire mainstream media could not conjure … damage to something that once looked indestructible, Trump’s political brand.”
Nathan Guttman staff writer, is the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Ha’aretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Contact Nathan at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @nathanguttman