Kushner And Bannon’s Rivalry: A Blessing in Disguise

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Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon walk together on December 1, 2016

As the American people have now seen countless times, President Donald Trump P ’00 behaves like a child. Unsurprisingly, the company Mr. Trump keeps in the White House exhibits the same puerility. According to leaks from within the Trump administration to various newspapers, Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner, two of the president’s most influential advisers, have developed  an extremely childish rivalry. However, no matter how ridiculous this conflict may appear on face level, it is actually beneficial in the long run.

Accusing Mr. Kushner of being both a Democrat and a globalist, Mr. Bannon has become increasingly aggressive towards the 36-year-old son-in-law of Mr. Trump. However dismaying it may be, this infantile rivalry is nevertheless predictable. None of Trump’s four main advisers, Kellyanne Conway, Reince Priebus, Mr. Bannon, and Mr. Kushner, are very admirable people. In particular, Mr. Bannon stands out for his radical and offensive nature. The former head of Breitbart News, a right wing and factually dubious news site, Bannon has published articles with headlines such as “Would You Rather Your Child Had Feminism or Cancer?” and “Hoist It High and Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims a Glorious Heritage.” As these inflammatory headlines demonstrate, Bannon has a petty and immature nature  — one that he has brought with him to the White House.

Another one of Mr. Trump’s advisers is Kellyanne Conway, the Counselor to the President and an advocate for “alternative facts,” Fortunately, after several embarrassing and widely publicized television gaffes, her position at the heart of Mr. Trump’s circle of trust has lessened. Additionally, the White House Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus. Having been the longest-running chairman of the Republican National Committee, from 2011 to the present, Mr. Priebus is the most politically experienced member of  Mr. Trump’s inner circle. Additionally, especially in comparison to Mr. Bannon, he is also a relatively moderate Republican.

Last, Mr. Kushner, the husband of Presidential daughter Ivanka Trump ‘00, serves as Senior Adviser to Mr. Trump. Inarguably, Mr. Kushner’s position in the White House, like his wife’s, was gained through nepotism. Considering he has donated to Democrats in the past and has a documented history of social liberalism, Kushner is a glaring outlier in Trump’s circle.

Thus, between Mr. Kushner and Mr. Bannon stands a fundamental conflict — one between alt-right conservatism and moderate, at times socially liberal, Republicanism. When inflammatory personalities such as Mr. Bannon and Mr. Kushner are forced to compete for influence over a powerful individual, it is easy to see how infighting is inevitable. However, is this rivalry between these two men necessarily a bad thing? Ultimately, the answer to that question depends on who emerges victorious. While Mr. Kushner might not have deserved his position, his more socially-conscious views may convince Mr. Trump to sway left on key issues. Although Mr. Kushner has little experience in government, he is certainly a better alternative to Mr. Bannon and his white nationalism.

On surface level, this rivalry is ridiculous, as members of the White House should not engage in petty fights. However, considering it was completely inevitable, liberals might as well view it positively — if Mr. Kushner prevails, Mr. Trump could shift to the left on the political spectrum. Fortunately, as recent leaks have revealed, Mr. Bannon appears to be falling out of Mr. Trump’s good graces. During an interview on April 11, 2017, Mr. Trump said that he is “own strategist,” referencing Mr. Bannon’s position as White House Chief Strategist. Additionally, he reaffirmed that Mr. Bannon has less power than he does. Hopefully, Mr. Bannon will be pushed out of Mr. Trump’s inner circle, and Mr. Kushner’s slightly more enlightened brand of conservatism will prevail.

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