Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner makes a statement from at the White House after being interviewed by the Senate Intelligence Committee in...
YURI GRIPAS

Why Kushner’s Capitol Hill pitch on immigration went so poorly

Updated

Immigration reform may seem like an issue that’s moved away from the political world’s radar, but some in the White House haven’t given up just yet. In fact, the West Wing is apparently hopeful that there may still be a way to get a compromise package through the divided Congress.

To that end, Donald Trump has put the issue in the hands of his young son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who’s quietly taken steps to craft a comprehensive solution. In fact, just last week, Kushner did a presentation for several Republican senators, sharing the broad strokes of his proposal.

How’d that go? Politico reported that the presidential son-in-law led the presentation “with the aid of a PowerPoint presentation, which detractors have derided as laughably simplistic.” If senators were impressed, they kept those reactions to themselves.

Yesterday, Kushner tried again, and according to the Washington Post’s report, Round II was worse than Round I.

President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, faced pointed questions about his plan to overhaul the immigration system in a closed-door meeting with Republican senators Tuesday – and failed to offer solutions to some key concerns, according to GOP officials who cast doubt on the viability of the proposal.

Publicly, senators emerged from their weekly Capitol Hill luncheon applauding the White House senior adviser’s pitch to move U.S. immigration toward a merit-based system that prioritizes highly skilled workers, a task he undertook at Trump’s behest.

But privately, Republican officials said Kushner did not have clear answers to some questions from the friendly audience, prompting Trump’s other senior adviser, Stephen Miller, to interrupt at times and take over the conversation.

If this reporting is correct, it suggests Kushner didn’t exactly dazzle the GOP senators – who are reflexively inclined to be sympathetic to this White House’s proposals. It’s worth appreciating why.

If it were simply a matter of ideology, it’d be easier to understand Kushner’s difficulties. He’s never been a far-right ideologue, and if Kushner presented a moderate immigration plan to a conservative Senate Republican conference, some pushback would be inevitable.

But by all accounts, that’s not the stumbling block. Rather, Trump’s son-in-law reportedly isn’t fully prepared for the tasks he’s been given.

Politico’s aforementioned report from last week added that Kushner likes to present his political inexperience “as an asset,” telling lawmakers “he is free of preconceived notions that stymied previous attempts.”

That may seem like a reasonable posture, except it’s not backed up by anything meaningful. The article added, “His air of breezy self-assurance in the private meetings he is conducting to tease his plans at times astounds the battle-scarred veterans of past such efforts. Critics complain, too, that his briefings are often woefully short on detail.”

Perhaps Trump is impressed by “breezy self-assurance” and briefings that are “woefully short on detail,” but sometimes, White House officials have to impress people other than the amateur president.

Immigration Policy and White House

Why Kushner's Capitol Hill pitch on immigration went so poorly

Updated