The former editor in chief of the New York Observer is being vetted to join President Donald Trump’s advisory roster.
Ken Kurson, a close ally of Trump’s son-in-law and former Observer owner Jared Kushner, confirmed to The Daily Beast that he is being considered for an honorary, unpaid role with the administration.
And multiple sources confirmed to The Daily Beast on Friday that the FBI approached them and other people close to Kurson as part of the background vetting process.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
Under Kushner’s ownership, Kurson ran the Observer from 2013 until 2017. Kushner transferred his stake in the publication into a family trust upon his father-in-law’s 2016 presidential election victory. And Kurson, also a former Rudy Giuliani speechwriter, stepped down in early 2017 to work for corporate-advisory firm Teneo Strategy.
Kurson’s tenure at the Observer came under intense scrutiny for his ties to Kushner and the Trump campaign, which most famously culminated in Kurson having helped write the future president’s March 2016 speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC); and in the Observer giving a full-throated endorsement to Trump’s candidacy, positively comparing him to Ronald Reagan.
The moves also infuriated staff, who felt that the editor in chief was not forthcoming about his deep ties to the family and campaign. Staffers publicly criticized leadership including Kurson and Kushner, and some considered resigning en masse in protest of Kurson’s decision to secretly pen the AIPAC speech without disclosing to employees.