Jared Kushner may need a larger Thanksgiving plate at the White House table this year — he just got a big new helping of work to do for his father-in-law.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that on top of all the other duties President Trump has assigned to Kushner, he now will be “the de facto project manager” for building that anti-migrant wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
This adds to Kushner’s numerous responsibilities, “which some of his critics have said border on comical,” the Post says.
“Kushner has told other [White House] officials that he is in charge of the wall,” aides told the Post, “and that it is paramount to Trump that at least 400 miles be built by Election Day.”
That would be a major step forward for the project, yet still leave it well over 1,000 miles short of Trump’s goal of a wall extending from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico.
Even before the wall was added, Kushner, at 38, was carrying an enormous load: he was supposed to end the decades-long stalemate in the Middle East by working out a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians; lead the administration’s tangled approach to foreign trade policy; pursue reform of the U.S. criminal justice system; direct moderinization of the entire federal government, and more.
So far, says the Post, his efforts in all this have yielded “mixed results.”
“Trump campaigned on a promise to construct a wall along the southern border and to make Mexico pay for the project as part of his plan to limit illegal immigration,” the newspaper says. “But Mexico scoffed at paying for a barrier it opposes, and Trump has not been able to get Congress to provide the funding he has requested” from Congress.
“The result is that, while some existing barriers have been replaced with sturdier structures, only limited areas of new wall have been built.”
Kushner holds regular White House meetings on the wall’s progress, attended by some Trump cabinet members and other officials, at which he “shares and explains the president’s wishes,” the Post says, citing “officials familiar with the matter.”
The wall project has recently gained momentum in western states like Arizona and New Mexico, where desert border lands are already under government control and the border itself runs more or less straight east-west.
But it faces a greater challenge in Texas, where nearly all of the 1,200 miles of land needed along the winding Rio Grande River is privately owned.
“There are very real concerns,” acting Customs & Border Protection commissioner Mark Morgan told the Post. “We’re being sued on a regular basis on multiple fronts. Land acquisition is a very, very challenging process.”