WASHINGTON (USA TODAY) — Two top aides to President Trump held a peace negotiation session this weekend to try and mend a rift that triggered speculation about a White House staff shakeup, officials said Saturday.
Senior adviser Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, and senior adviser Steve Bannon met at the behest of Trump, who has expressed irritation about anonymous sniping in the media between the two camps, the officials said.
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus — also the subject of "palace intrigue" stories — had Kushner and Bannon sit down with him to clear the air and end the back and forth, said a senior administration official.
The goal, the official said, was to unite the administration so it can focus on the agenda. The official confirmed the Kushner-Bannon meeting on the condition of anonymity in order to speak on internal manners.
Kushner and Bannon were both at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., where the president hosted a summit with the leader of China.
Other administration officials declined to discuss staff relationships, but denied reports that a major staff shake-up is imminent. "Once again, this is a completely false story driven by people who want to distract from the success taking place in this administration," said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders.
In recent weeks, officials have said Kushner has taken on a larger role as Trump's main troubleshooter, which spurred speculation about a growing rift between him and Bannon. Former Trump political adviser Roger Stone has accused Kushner of leaking unfavorable stories about Bannon.
Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News who chaired the Trump presidential campaign, is considered the leader of the nationalist wing. It believes the United States has surrendered too much of its economic sovereignty via questionable trade deals and leaky immigration policies.
Other Trump advisers are more globalist, bigger supporters of trade and cooperation with international organizations like NATO. That group includes Kushner, who has emerged as a troubleshooter for the president and has clashed with Bannon.
Bannon and Kushner have been subjects of anonymous attacks in the media, as have other prominent White House officials, such as Priebus and counselor Kellyanne Conway.
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