Trump teases Kushner about immigration expertise at White House meeting

Trump teases Kushner about immigration expertise at White House meeting

President TrumpDonald John TrumpChelsea Clinton announces birth of third child Ukrainian officials and Giuliani are sharing back-channel campaign information: report Trump attacks 'the Squad' as 'racist group of troublemakers' MORE teased senior adviser and son-in-law Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerTrump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Trump: 'We already started' talks to get A$AP Rocky home from Sweden Kim Kardashian West thanks Trump, Kushner for helping efforts to free A$AP Rocky from Swedish jail MORE during a recent Oval Office meeting about his immigration expertise.

Three people familiar with the meeting told The Washington Post that Kushner spoke up during the meeting about possibilities to end the government shutdown, prompting Trump to respond: “Apparently, Jared has become an expert on immigration in the last 48 hours.”

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One White House official described the remark as “playful,” according to the Post. The newspaper reported that the ongoing shutdown has presented an opportunity for Kushner to step up as an “assertive player” in the administration despite past criticism and scrutiny.

White House aides told the Post that Kushner meets with Trump, Vice President Pence and other officials most mornings and has privately assured Trump that he can reach a deal with Democrats due to his relationships with some moderate senators.

He reportedly played a role in Trump’s immigration proposal to end the shutdown, which is expected to fail in the Senate on Thursday. The deal calls for $5.7 billion in funding for Trump’s border wall, which Democrats have rejected.

The report is not the first time that Trump has joked about Kushner, who is married to his daughter Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpTrump steps up attacks on 'Squad' after post-rally furor Trump says he doesn't care if attacks on 'Squad' hurt him politically EXCLUSIVE: Career officials rebut claims of White House interference in security clearance process MORE, also a White House adviser. 

Kushner has had a significant influence on several key issues in the Trump administration, particularly on a bipartisan criminal justice reform law that was passed late last year.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the Post that Kushner has “successfully helped negotiate deals” with President Trump, citing the criminal justice reform law and a trade deal with Mexico and Canada.

“It’s no wonder the president asked him to join the negotiating team to work on a deal to open the government and secure our border,” she said.

Still, Kushner’s role in the White House has been under near-constant scrutiny from critics citing his lack of political experience and alleged conflicts of interest. One point of contention has been Kushner’s close relationship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Kushner received a permanent security clearance last year after a lengthy review, but Democrats are now saying they will investigate how he received it.