WASHINGTON • United States President Donald Trump planned to unveil a new White House office yesterday with sweeping authority to overhaul the federal bureaucracy and fulfil key campaign promises - such as reforming care for veterans and fighting opioid addiction - by harvesting ideas from the business world and, potentially, privatising some government functions.
The White House Office of American Innovation, to be led by Mr Jared Kushner, the President's son-in-law and senior adviser, will operate as its own nimble power centre within the West Wing and will report directly to Mr Trump.
Viewed internally as a Swat team of strategic consultants, the office will be staffed by former business executives and is designed to infuse fresh thinking into Washington, float above the daily political grind and create a lasting legacy for a president still searching for signature achievements.
"All Americans, regardless of their political views, can recognise that government stagnation has hindered our ability to properly function, often creating widespread congestion and leading to cost overruns and delays," Mr Trump said in a statement to The Washington Post. "I promised the American people I would produce results, and apply my 'ahead of schedule, under budget' mentality to the government."
In a White House riven at times by disorder and competing factions, the innovation office represents an expansion of Mr Kushner's already far-reaching influence. The 36-year-old former real estate and media executive will continue to wear many hats, driving foreign and domestic policy as well as decisions on presidential personnel. He also is a shadow diplomat, serving as Mr Trump's lead adviser on relations with China, Mexico, Canada and the Middle East. "We should have excellence in government," Mr Kushner said on Sunday.
"The government should be run like a great American company. Our hope is that we can achieve successes and efficiencies for our customers, who are the citizens."