Jared Kushner: ‘Very troubling’ to see migrants used as ‘pawns’

On Fox News, Donald Trump’s son-in-law made the comments implying criticism of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and adviser, in a 2019 file photo. [ JABIN BOTSFORD | Washington Post]
Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and adviser, in a 2019 file photo. [ JABIN BOTSFORD | Washington Post]
Published Sept. 22, 2022

Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, appeared on Fox News this week and criticized the use of undocumented immigrants as “political pawns.”

The implied criticism of Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has dominated headlines recently after Florida chartered two flights of Venezuelan migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, comes as talk continues to ramp up that DeSantis could rival Trump for the White House in 2024.

A Fox News host posed the question about immigration to Kushner during a Tuesday appearance on the cable news channel. It was directly preceded by a clip of DeSantis defending the flights, saying they have exposed the hypocrisy of liberals who had “a freak-out” over his actions but ignore the humanitarian crisis at the border.

“Two million across the border ... where is the outrage — but 48 in Martha’s Vineyard and all of a sudden, Democrats seem to wake up?” the Fox host then asked Kushner.

“I personally watch what’s happening and it’s very hard to see at the southern border. I also — we have to remember these are human beings, they’re people,” Kushner said. “So seeing them being used as political pawns one way or the other is very troubling to me.”

He then added that the border was more secure under Trump, who made the core of his political brand his “Build the Wall” policies, including one that led to thousands of children being separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Related: DeSantis, Trump show their Republican dominance in Florida amid growing 2024 talk

While former president Trump still has a dominating presence in the Republican Party, a new poll released Wednesday found Florida Republicans would prefer their governor in a hypothetical 2024 matchup.

Kushner’s comments represented a jab after a period of public quiet between the two men, as Trump deals with court battles on multiple fronts. In July, they simultaneously delivered speeches at different events across Florida, creating a poignant split-screen and spurring a particularly intense period of DeSantis 2024 speculation.

Neither DeSantis’ office nor his reelection campaign immediately responded to emails requesting comment.