It looks like the president’s highly capable son-in-law has a new job.
According to reporting by the Washington Post, and other outlets, President Trump has put Jared Kushner in charge of overseeing Trump’s signature campaign promise — the construction of his border wall.
The reports cite current and former administration officials, who say that Kushner has been holding “biweekly West Wing meetings about the progress of the wall,” including but not limited to “the location of the wall, contractors, and how funding is being used.”
According to the unnamed officials, apparently Kushner also explains Trump’s ideas and thoughts to the group. The Post reports Kushner is also pressing U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to speed up the process of taking over private land needed for the project as the government seeks to meet Trump’s goal of building 450 miles of barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border by the end of 2020. Officials told the Post that more than 800 filings to seize private property need to be made to meet that goal.
Trump wants to see progress on the wall as he enters this year’s re-election campaign, and he believes putting Kushner in charge is the way to make that happen. The sources speaking to the Post said that Kushner relayed to those on the project that “Trump wants to see at least 400 miles [of the wall] built by Election Day.” That would mean a little less than a quarter of the 2,000-mile border, by the end of next year, a goal which would require a striking increase in the pace of construction since Trump took office in January 2017.
Work so far has focused on reinforcing existing barriers, and the first building of new barriers started only in October, 22 months after Trump’s inauguration.
Having Kushner overseeing the border wall project further expands Kushner’s already large portfolio, which includes working on a Middle East peace deal, overhauling the legal immigration and criminal justice systems, pushing trade policy, modernizing the federal government and taking a lead role on Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign.