The Jared Kushner-Trump relationship is supposedly one based on Donald Trump’s deep trust for his son-in-law. But as reported by CNN, recent weeks have demonstrated this trust extends so far that Kushner has virtually become a stand-in president. The range of responsibilities that Trump has devolved on Jared Kushner beggar the imagination.
Kushner has been given authority to deal with Mexico, China, crime, Veterans Affairs, technology development, the drugs crisis and – oh yes – peace in the Middle East. And this isn’t even the whole list. The most remarkable aspect of this is that Kushner, like Trump himself, is supremely unqualified for virtually all of the responsibilities he’s been given.
Mexico and Jared Kushner
Trump made it clear with his handling of Mexico since his inauguration that he has established Jared Kushner as an alternative secretary of state. In fact, when Kushner in March had a meeting at the White House with Mexican diplomat Luis Videgaray, the State Department and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson were apparently unaware Videgaray was even in town.
The Chinese Visit and Jared Kushner
Trump has also apparently decided to place the management of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s impending visit to the United States — specifically to Donald Trump’s so-called Winter White House, Mar-a-Lago — in Kushner’s hands. The ethics of Trump once again bringing world leaders to his own hotel aside, it’s telling that even in a relationship as important as the one between the United States and China, Trump trusts Jared Kushner to handle things.
Reformer Jared Kushner
Trump made the claim that he was going to clear out the swamp in Washington, D.C., a huge part of his campaign. More than this, it’s always been Donald Trump’s implication that he’s going to run the government like he runs his business – as disturbing as that might sound given how many times Trump’s declared bankruptcy.
Nevertheless, Trump chose Jared Kushner as the man to get this job done. Essentially, Trump wants Kushner to introduce efficient businesslike ideas and approaches to the procedures and mechanisms of government. Of course, this presupposes that these vast organizations haven’t been doing this already. Still, it’s remarkable that Trump is placing responsibility for getting this done entirely on Kushner, who has never served in any government capacity prior to the Trump administration.
American Innovation and Jared Kushner
Trump presented Kushner with a virtual smorgasbord of responsibilities when he established Kushner as head of a new White House office of American Innovation. Under the umbrella of this office will come things like dealing with the narcotics problem in the United States, introducing advanced technologies and data management to government, improving America’s infrastructure, and modernizing the Veterans Administration.
Criminal Justice Reformer Jared Kushner
Trump — not content to leave foreign policy, the drug crisis, and governmental reform in Kushner’s hands — also made him a criminal justice reformer. Just days ago, Kushner was sitting in a meeting with a number of important senators discussing issues related to criminal justice reform. Yes, one might expect that the person doing this would be Attorney General Jeff Sessions, but since he apparently didn’t like the idea, Donald Trump gave it to Kushner instead.
Middle East Peacemaker Jared Kushner
Trump, as astounding as it might sound, also appears to be leaving responsibility for achieving Middle East peace in the hands of Jared Kushner. As reported by the Associated Press, a challenge that has thwarted the best efforts of experienced diplomats ranging from Madeleine Albright to Henry Kissinger has been placed in the hands of a 36-year-old real estate executive with no diplomatic experience whatsoever.
It’s fairly clear that the Jared Kushner Trump sees when he looks at his son-in-law is someone very different than the person the rest of us see – particularly when we consider the vast responsibilities that Trump is handing over to Kushner. And if Jared Kushner isn’t Donald Trump’s stand-in president, they’re doing a very good job of creating the appearance that he is.
[Featured Image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]