How Jared Kushner failed to win the shutdown for Trump

Jared Kushner tried to win the shutdown for Trump, failed
(Image credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, added to his weighty portfolio by becoming Trump's point man on negotiating an end the government shutdown. He "was confident in his ability as a good-faith negotiator who could find a compromise," maybe even a grand immigration bargain, "buoyed by his success in helping pass a criminal justice bill," The New York Times reports. But a generous epitaph after Trump temporarily reopened the government with no border wall money might be "Jared Tried."

It turned out that "negotiating a broad immigration deal that would satisfy a president committed to a border wall as well as Democrats who have cast it as immoral proved to be more like Mr. Kushner's elusive goal of solving Middle East peace than passing a criminal justice overhaul that already had bipartisan support," the Times reports. Democrats also never believed Kushner could speak for Trump or get around his immigration backstop, Stephen Miller.

Kushner consistently misread the politics, too, assuring "colleagues that public opinion would move to their side and that Speaker Nancy Pelosi would emerge as the one who looked unreasonable and intransigent," the Times says. Similarly, Kushner "inaccurately believed that moderate rank-and-file Democrats were open to a compromise and had no issue funding a wall as part of a broader deal."

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Kushner's divide-and-conquer-the-Democrats plan "sounds insane" in this case, New York's Jonathan Chait writes. In fact other White House advisers called it insane, even "delusional." Not that this is over. Ultimately, "Trump was willing to table debate over wall funding because he is convinced he can win support from some Democratic lawmakers over the next three weeks," The Washington Post reports. And Kushner, the Times adds, has told Trump "he should spend the next three weeks trying to achieve a broader immigration package."

You can watch Capitol Hill reporters deliver an early postmortem on the shutdown and Kushner's efforts on MSNBC. Peter Weber

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.