Have you noticed we haven’t heard much about Jared Kushner lately? See, here is how it works in the Trump era. If you criticize Trump or go against his wishes, your name will be in the headlines endlessly, as he tweets nasty little comments about you forever and ever. Note that he is still tweeting, as recently as yesterday, about “Crooked Hillary”. But, if you are on Trump’s side and you get caught with your proverbial pants down, you will simply be kept in the background where the press will not see you and will likely forget about you and your troubles.
Back in July, Kushner made headlines nearly daily, most of it controversial. He lied, or omitted numerous contacts with Russians on his security clearance form, he was found to be using a private email server for government business, and his testimony before the Senate committee investigating the Russian interference in the 2016 election left questions unanswered. After giving his testimony before the Senate hearings, he made a brief statement to the press whereby he said, “I did not collude with Russia”. I kept waiting for him to hold up his arms with two fingers sticking up on each hand, aka Nixon in his “I am not a crook” speech.
And then … we heard no more about Kushner for the most part. The latest Kushner headlines:
- “Inside the Decade-Long Relationship of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner …” – Business Insider
- “Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner Celebrate 8 Years of Marriage” – Atlanta Journal Constitution
- “Ivanka Trump and her Husband Are Secretly Awesome Matchmakers” – Business Insider
Does anybody care? And when did Business Insider become a gossip rag? But digging a bit deeper, I found a few interesting things. One in particular stands out …
“Kushner Will Take a Diminished Role on Trump’s China Trip” – Politico
Last I heard, many were questioning why Kushner retained his security clearance, in light of the controversy swirling around him. Many were calling for his clearance to be revoked, though of course it has not been. And now not only he, but also Ivanka Trump are accompanying Trump on the first leg of his Asian trip. Neither Kushner nor his wife have any credentials that would explain the reason for them to be on this trip. But wait … there’s more!
Of all the people slated for this trip, and believe me, there are many, the one person who is an expert on both China and trade policy, Director of Trade and Industrial Policy, and the Director of the White House National Trade Council, Peter Navarro, isn’t actually going. Navarro is a harsh critic of China, and is also a proponent of reducing the national deficit, and something about that struck the wrong chord with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, and Navarro was cut from the trip.
Now, I have two questions, as one of the people who is funding this trip. Why are so many people who have no relevant knowledge or experience going on our tax dollars? Kushner serves as Trump’s chief diplomatic contact for China, but I can find nothing at all in his background that qualifies him for this position. Ivanka? C’mon folks, this is nepotism at its finest and last time she was allowed contact with Chinese President Xi Jinping, she came away with three new trademarks for her own personal business. Nepotism.
My second question is whether this trip at this time is even wise. A different president, and I might not question, but Trump has purposely antagonized DPRK President Kim Jong-un almost ever since he took office, and tensions are high in the region. Will he be able to keep his mouth shut while he is in Asia, or will he rant and babble, stirring controversy and further damaging the way the world views us? I’m pretty sure we all know the answer to that question.
And a third question … A lot of people going on this trip, and frankly I don’t know how many there are, but I am aware of at least 15 who are tagging along, including Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. And of course Jared and Ivanka, and the secret service, and I would not be surprised if Melania, her son, and Don Junior tagged along too. I wonder if this isn’t more of a sightseeing trip for the Trump family than to conduct any actual business that couldn’t have been transacted by phone … or Twitter! This is especially relevant in light of the fact that initially Trump was to conclude the trip by attending a key Asia summit in the Philippines that he has now decided to skip.
I will have more on the Asia trip soon, but for now, moving back to Kushner. Trump kept him out of the public eye for three months to give the controversy time to die down, while he is still ranting about Hillary and Obama nearly a year after the election. And the controversy surrounding Kushner is not gone, and not entirely forgotten, just pushed back behind the smokescreen. There are still many questions surrounding the omissions on his security clearance forms, his use of a private email server, and his multiple meetings with Russians during the 2016 campaign. Nepotism.