JARED (OY VAS MERE) KUSHNER
ADVISOR - CONSIGLIERE - SON-IN-LAW - MITZVAH MAKER - A YID
Add to the mix multiple power centers and an insecure, defensive son-in-law. “Two people close to the transition also said a number of Trump’s most loyal campaign aides have been alarmed by Jared Kushner’s efforts to elbow aside anyone he perceives as a possible threat to his role as Trump’s chief consigliere.”
The picture suggests an unhinged president, too many weak aides and an administration that cannot control itself, let alone coverage of its breakdowns. To repeat, nothing much of substance, certainly no major policy defeat, has yet occurred. One shudders to think what will happen when setbacks do occur.
Trump’s inability to acknowledge his own lack of support prompts him to seek refuge in “alternative facts” — to lie to himself and others. The Post reports, “Days after being sworn in, President Trump insisted to congressional leaders invited to a reception at the White House that he would have won the popular vote had it not been for millions of illegal votes …
Two people familiar with the meeting said Trump spent about 10 minutes at the start of the bipartisan gathering rehashing the campaign. He also told them that between 3 million and 5 million illegal votes caused him to lose the popular vote.” The obsession with replaying the election and concocting a phony excuse for losing the popular vote reminds us that despite mockery for constant lying, Trump cannot help himself. He lies because reality won’t conform to his narcissistic view of the world.
After months of behind-the-scenes work cultivating ties on both sides of the Arab-Israeli divide, Jared Kushner is ready for his debut on the global stage this week.
Come Wednesday, he’ll join his father-in-law when he welcomes Israel’s hawkish, hardline, headstrong Prime Minister at the White House. This will be Donald Trump’s first pow-wow with Benjamin Netanyahu as president, and SLOTUS (America’s son-in-law) cum unofficial special envoy for Middle East peace, will be by his side.
Though Kushner occupies a unique and perhaps unprecedented position in this administration, the circumstance he now finds himself in is decidedly unenviable. For even the most seasoned diplomats and foreign policymakers, the Israel-Palestinian conflict is a pressure cooker assignment that can cause angst of an existential nature.
During the latter half of 2016, then-candidate Trump unceremoniously dumped this portfolio into Kushner’s lap, in a very public manner, before he’d doled out any other major diplomatic positions. Why, one might wonder, would the president, whose boundless admiration for his son-in-law is a matter of public record, give him the toughest assignment in foreign policy? Perhaps he’s decided to get strategic.
There are two dichotomous explanations for President Trump’s choice.
The first is that President Trump believes in Kushner’s talents so fiercely and unequivocally that he imagines him capable of out-maneuvering every foreign service officer at the State Department today and every bona-fide diplomat that has come before him. No matter that Mr. Kushner has never before tried his hand at foreign diplomacy nor lived in the region; in our president’s eyes, Kushner’s deal-making prowess is all the qualification he needs to get the job done. This is plausible.
The second explanation is that the POTUS is thinking about the matter more realistically, and after considering the historical trajectory of America’s quest for a viable Mideast peace deal, has come to the sensible conclusion that his own prospects for success during the next four to eight years range from slim to none. Because he has no real expectation of resolving the conflict during the course of his tenure, he’s decided to get strategic.
Time magazine has named top White House adviser Jared Kushner as one of its 100 most influential people. Usually, when you're given that distinction, a magazine like Time will reach out to someone who knows you and can vouch for your superior influential-ness and prowess.
Instead, Kushner got Henry Kissinger.
Here is Kissinger's write-up for Kushner, with whom he has apparently spoken a few times:
Transitioning the presidency between parties is one of the most complex undertakings in American politics. The change triggers an upheaval in the intangible mechanisms by which Washington runs: an incoming President is likely to be less familiar with formal structures, and the greater that gap, the heavier the responsibility of those advisers who are asked to fill it.
This space has been traversed for nearly four months by Jared Kushner, whom I first met about 18 months ago, when he introduced himself after a foreign policy lecture I had given. We have sporadically exchanged views since. As part of the Trump family, Jared is familiar with the intangibles of the President. As a graduate of Harvard and NYU, he has a broad education; as a businessman, a knowledge of administration. All this should help him make a success of his daunting role flying close to the sun.
Kushner isn't the only member of the Trump team to get some lukewarm words about his job rather than himself. Former White House chief of staff and current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) wasn't exactly dispensing compliments to White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.
But Kissinger comes from the same party as the White House. And if you read these two paragraphs closely, it's not just that he's damning Kushner with faint praise; he's also making a very unfriendly parallel to Greek mythology.
The first paragraph above says nothing about Kushner, but instead about the job he faces. Let's take the rest sentence by sentence:
“This space has been traversed for nearly four months by Jared Kushner, whom I first met about 18 months ago, when he introduced himself after a foreign policy lecture I had given. We have sporadically exchanged views since.”
This is establishing familiarity — ostensibly so Kissinger can provide us some personal details or testimonials about Kushner that we may not be aware of.
“As part of the Trump family, Jared is familiar with the intangibles of the President.”
Okay, that's a benefit of being the guy's son-in-law, certainly. But it's also what you'd expect.
“As a graduate of Harvard and NYU, he has a broad education … "
As do many people who are not on the list of Time's 100 most influential people.
" … as a businessman, a knowledge of administration.”
An even broader pool of Americans could claim this distinction. We seem to be working small to big here.
“All this should help him make a success of his daunting role flying close to the sun.”
This seems like it might be a vote of confidence, but it's also thick with not-so-friendly subtext. Kissinger writes that the basic elements of Kushner's biography outlined above “should” help make him successful -- but also that he's taken on a “daunting role flying close to the sun."
That seems a clear reference to Icarus in Greek mythology. Icarus was given wings made of feathers and wax by his father, Daedalus, and was told not to fly too close to the sun, for fear of melting the wax. But Icarus quickly fell in love with flight and forgot his father's admonition, falling to his death.
It's a tale about hubris, of which Kushner has often been accused of having too much. And it's a clear nod to the many problems Kushner has been tasked with, including Middle East peace, the opioid epidemic and overhauling how government functions.
Translation: Good luck, kid.