President Donald Trump on Tuesday appeared to joke about the rising profile of his son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner.
“I appreciate everyone,” Trump said, thanking Republican leaders during a meeting with House and Senate leadership. “Jared. Jared’s actually become much more famous than me. I’m a little bit upset about that.”
Those present laughed at his remarks, though it was not clear whether Trump laughed along.
Trump last used that phrase to describe a figure of sudden, unexpected political prominence in January, when he applied it to James Comey, then director of the FBI.
“He’s become more famous than me!” Trump said of Comey, who he greeted at a White House reception for law enforcement.
Kushner made the cover of TIME Magazine last week, an achievement Trump has boasted about when it applies to himself and reportedly fumed about when it is bestowed upon others — such as chief White House strategist Steve Bannon, who has since been sidelined from a number of major decisions, including Comey’s firing.
Kushner’s star has risen in a number of less desirable arenas as well. The Washington Post reported in May that Trump’s son-in-law spoke to Russia’s ambassador to the United States about setting up a secret communications channel between Trump’s transition team and Moscow in December.
Reuters reported the same day that Kushner failed to disclose at least three additional contacts he had with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak on his application for a security clearance.
Kushner is also under scrutiny for meetings he held with a Russian banker, according to the New York Times.
On top of all that, the congressional committees investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election want to question Kushner about whether he sought Russian financing for his family’s luxury tower during those meetings.
The President’s confidence in any one actor has little to no bearing on their ultimate fate, it seems.
In February, top White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said Trump had “full confidence” in Michael Flynn, then national security adviser, amid reports that Flynn had discussed sanctions in a call with Kislyak before Trump’s inauguration. Hours later, Flynn handed in his resignation.
In March, Trump said he had “total” confidence in Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the wake of revelations that Sessions met twice with Kislyak before the election. Later the same day, Sessions recused himself from the investigation into any ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia.