Will Jared Kushner Replace Michael Flynn? Some Think He Should
The Trump administration took a blow on Monday night when Michael Flynn resigned from his position as national security adviser. Right now, Lt. Gen. Joseph Keith Kellogg, Jr. is serving in the position in the interim, but the Trump administration needs to find a permanent replacement. If, for some reason, they don't offer Kellogg the position, there are some in D.C. that think Jared Kushner should replace Michael Flynn.
Did you just hear a record skip or was that just me? Jared Kushner as national security adviser? Hey, at this point, why not?
Kushner, Trump's 36-year old son-in-law (he's Ivanka's husband), has been a key player on Team Trump ever since he took on an advisory role during the 2016 presidential campaign. After taking office, Trump appointed Kushner as a senior adviser, so he's already in the West Wing. Peter Feaver of Foreign Policy floated the idea on Tuesday that instead of picking another retired general, like Kellogg, to the position, Trump should nominate his son-in-law to take over.
Feaver made his case writing, "Yes, there is a concern about nepotism, but those concerns have already been bridged with his current appointment. While he does not have an extensive background in national security matters, he does appear already to have a fairly extensive portfolio of responsibilities in that area. Making him NSA would align authority and responsibility more than is currently the case."
As Feaver writes, this could be a viable option, given that any conflict of interest for Kushner, in being the president's son-in-law, has apparently been forgiven by lawmakers since he has a senior advisory position in the White House. But promoting Kushner from "senior adviser" to "national security adviser" would likely get some major pushback from Democrats, given that they are already threatening a full on investigation into Flynn's actions. Kushner would open himself up to a a lot of questioning if offered the gig and his cozy relationship with Trump would likely be an issue, since Flynn was nominated without much question and proved to be a liability.
Right now, the Trump administration is currently looking at appointing Kellogg to the position, along with mulling over other candidates, like David Petraeus, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, who is also controversial. Petraeus was charged with mishandling classified information in 2015 and is currently on probation. Replacing Flynn, who allegedly might have negotiated with Russia and then lied to Trump and Vice President Mike Pence about it, with someone like Petraeus would be a little more of the same from the administration.
Since "eroding trust" was one of the main reasons Flynn was asked to resign, nominating someone like Kushner sounds like a good idea, but he would be open to a lot scrutiny from Congress, at best. Sure, Kushner reportedly doesn't have trouble telling Trump when he's wrong and also gets along with other top advisers, like Steve Bannon and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, but there's more to the national security adviser position than that.
Other presidents have nominated people without military experience to the position of national security adviser (George W. Bush and Condaleeza Rice come to mind for a frame of reference). But given Trump's understanding of how the government and foreign relations work, it seems he wants someone with a military background in the always-important role because he equates national security with military action.
The national security adviser should be someone who isn't afraid to tell the president what's up. Kushner as national security adviser sounds like a good idea on paper. It fits the bill, but in the long run, his hypothetical appointment could more problematic than it's worth.