Trump mulls replacing Jared Kushner after blaming his son-in-law for tanking poll numbers: report

“He’s going to broom Kushner," because "the numbers are not getting better," one Republican says

By Igor Derysh

Managing Editor

Published June 9, 2020 9:52AM (EDT)

Senior advisor to President Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner (Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images)
Senior advisor to President Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner (Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images)

Though President Donald Trump publicly praised his son-in-law Jared Kushner as "my star" on Monday, he has privately fumed about his top adviser over his sagging poll numbers, according to Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman.

Trump and Kushner participated in a roundtable event at the White House on Monday, where Kushner appeared to declare both police brutality and systemic racism fixed.

"The law enforcement community heard the cries from the community, saw the injustices in the system that needed to be fixed and they responded by coming together to fix it," Kushner said, referring to the First Step Act, a criminal justice bill primarily aimed at reducing prison sentences. "And it's been a great partnership to do that."

Trump thanked Kushner, whom he praised as "my star."

But behind the scenes, Trump has raged over his tanking voter support and "mulled taking oversight of the campaign" away from Kushner, according to Sherman.

"Trump is malignantly crazy about the bad poll numbers," a former West Wing official told Vanity Fair.

"He's going to broom Kushner and [campaign manager Brad] Parscale — the numbers are not getting better," a Republican source close to the campaign added.

Trump has blown up "frequently" at Kushner in the past, apparently angry that Kushner "received too much positive press" earlier this year when he appeared on the cover of Time, a longtime Trump obsession.

"Any time Jared is in the papers, Trump complains, 'We have to get Jared back to New York!'" a Republican who had discussions with Trump told Sherman. "This is typical with him and Jared."

Trump's complaints have grown as his poll numbers have plummeted amid protests over the death of George Floyd and his threats to deploy the military to police the demonstrations. Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who publicly criticized Trump last week, has privately called the president a "proto-neofascist," according to Sherman.

Trump called up his New York friends and outside advisers over the weekend in hopes they would confirm his "belief that the polls are wrong," according to the report.

"He's asking people to agree with him that the polls are biased," a Republican briefed on the calls. said. "But no one is telling him what he wants to hear." 

Trump on Monday tried to counter polls showing him down big to presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden by tweeting a memo by notoriously wrong pollster John McLaughlin which claimed that they had undersampled Republicans.

"McLaughlin is notorious for producing rosy polling data on behalf of his clients. (Or, at least, purportedly on behalf of his clients, who often find themselves unpleasantly surprised on election night.)," New York Magazine reported. "A lengthy stream of overly optimistic polls culminated in McLaughlin convincing his client, Eric Cantor, that he was leading primary challenger David Brat by 34 points in 2014. Cantor lost by 11, at which point leading Republicans began begging their party not to hire him."

"Nearly a dozen Republican strategists who've worked with McLaughlin over the years say they try to steer their clients elsewhere and increasingly don't trust his polling," The Hill reported.

But as he tries to spin media polls, his own internal campaign poll numbers paint a similarly dire picture five months from the election, according to The New York Times.

Trump reportedly threatened to fire and "sue" Parscale after the campaign's internal polls similarly showed him struggling against Biden in key battleground states in April.

By Igor Derysh

Igor Derysh is Salon's managing editor. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.

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