By Arun Kumar
Washington, April 1 (IANS) The First son-in-law is rising. Jared Kushner, who inherited a real estate empire from his father, is now gaining territory by the day in Washington’s most prime property — the White House.
Married to Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka, the 36-year-old is no policy wonk. Yet he has a finger in every pie.
The President has tasked the businessman with from brokering “a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians” to make the government “run like a great American company.”
His ever expanding portfolio also encompasses from diplomacy with Mexico and China to solving America’s opioid epidemic to reforming care for veterans.
“Kushner is now responsible for everything,” quipped Huffington Post suggesting “Trump really needs to meet some new people.”
Sure, like Ivanka! The first daughter, who always had her dad’s ear, has now taken an official job in the White House with her very own office in the West Wing.
Like hubby Kushner and dad Trump, the new Assistant to the President will draw a princely salary of one dollar — and all other trappings of the office.
The rise of the son-in-law hasn’t eclipsed the sons. Donald Jr. and Eric now run the Trump empire from the 25th floor of Trump Tower in New York with a promise not to talk either business or government with the President.
“There is kind of a clear separation of church and state that we maintain, and I am deadly serious about that exercise,” Eric told Forbes in an interview.
Yet he will continue to update his father on the business — “Yeah, on the bottom line, profitability reports and stuff like that” — “probably quarterly”.
“My father and I are very close,” Eric told the business magazine. “I talk to him a lot. We’re pretty inseparable.”
Raising more ethical concerns, the “Trump boys” are also launching a new hotel chain called Scion that will feature the first Trump-run hotels not to bear the family name. “It’s in the Trump boys’ DNA,” Trump Hotels CEO told AP.
Meanwhile, the son-in-law has another job to do. Kushner has “volunteered” to appear before a Senate panel probing Russian meddling in the presidential election to clear the air about his meetings with Moscow’s envoy and a banker close to President Vladimir Putin.
He came forward as the New York Times naming names claimed a pair of White House officials had helped Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence panel with intelligence reports backing Trump’s claims of “snooping” by his predecessor.
Democrats were quick to cry foul over the revelation that the reports showing Trump and his associates “incidentally swept up in foreign surveillance by American spy agencies” had come from the White House in the first place.
Trump’s spokesman Sean Spicer, who had previously dismissed the suggestion that Nunes had “briefed” the President with reports originating from the White House as failing “the smell test,” now took a different tack.
The “obsession with who talked to whom, and when, is not the answer,” Spicer said. “It should be the substance,” he said revealing that the top Democrat on the House panel had been invited to review what Nunes had seen.
But Trump himself doubled down on the Times, tweeting: “The failing @nytimes has disgraced the media world. Gotten me wrong for two solid years. Change libel laws?”
In the midst of the new furore over Trump team’s Russia connection, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who was fired for failing to come clean about talking sanctions with the Russian envoy, also offered to tell his story if he was given immunity.
Was Flynn seeking immunity because he was “guilty” as Democrats were quick to aver or was it to protect him from a “witch hunt” by the “loser” opposition as the Donald proclaimed?
“Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!” Trump tweeted.
“Why doesn’t Fake News talk about Podesta ties to Russia as covered by @FoxNews or money from Russia to Clinton – sale of Uranium?” Trump asked.
Then smarting from his first major legislative defeat to repeal Barack Obama’s signature health law, he picked up his executive pen to undo a lot of what his predecessor had done with his pen – from climate change to free trade policies.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])