The new reality in the West Wing, post Rob Portman’s departure amidst allegations of domestic abuse, is a power struggle between Donald Trump’s family, Ivanka and Jared, and his chief of staff John Kelly. The issue at hand is those pesky security clearances that seem so unattainable for so many of the staff. “Primus inter pares” or first among equals is what Jared Kushner likes to call himself in his Republican circles but it seems this “number one” is finding it hard to obtain security clearance to remain in his role as the multitasker in chief.
As I recall his job is to solve the problems in the Middle East as well being the point man on China and trade. For over a year now Kushner has been dribbling background information, updating and revising his connections with foreign interests, business associates while having access to classified briefs anyway.
He is now squarely at odds with Kelly who was brought in to run a tight ship and is finally instituting new protocols for staff clearances. No longer will people with interim security clearances be allowed access to classified information, even National Security Adviser H.R. Mcmaster has chimed in support of Kelly’s new rules.
Daughter Ivanka finds herself in a similar predicament, with only interim security clearance and reportedly she does not like it.
This brings me to the question of nepotism, which is rendering favorable status or governmental positions to relatives in exchange for loyalty.
What is the President to do? He has the right to issue clearances to his kids, but he has not done it. If he trusts Jared and Ivanka, why not? Or, will he side with Kelly and remove his family from their high clearance jobs? The future will tell. For now, it appears nepotism remains an issue in the West Wing.
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