WASHINGTON –President Donald Trump is establishing a new White House office run by his son-in-law that will seek to overhaul government functions using ideas from the business sector.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Monday that Trump will announce the White House Office of American Innovation. He said the office will “apply the president’s ahead-of-schedule-and-under-budget mentality” to the government.
The plans for the office were first reported Sunday by The Washington Post.
The innovation office will be led by Jared Kushner, a senior adviser to Trump, and will report directly to the president. Spicer said early priorities for the office will be modernizing technology in the federal government and overhauling Veterans Affairs.
Among those working on the effort are National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, Dina Powell, senior counsellor to the president for economic initiatives and deputy national security adviser, Chris Liddell, assistant to the president for strategic initiatives and Reed Cordish, assistant to the president for intragovernmental and technology initiatives. All have extensive business experience.
Trump is readying to announce the new office at a low point in his young administration, days after the Republican bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.” imploded in the House of Representatives, revealing deep divides within GOP and fraying tensions at the White House.
This effort has been developing since shortly after the inauguration, said a senior administration official, who requested anonymity to discuss the office before the announcement. The group has been meeting since then and started talking to CEOs from various sectors about ways to make changes to federal programs. Areas they hope to tackle include overhauling Veterans’ Affairs, improving workforce development and targeting opioid addiction.
Trump’s daughter Ivanka, who is married to Kushner and has a West Wing office but no official job, will get involved on issues she is focused on, such as workforce development.