America Has a Jared Kushner Problem
Posted on: 04/27/2020 03:55 AM

Trumps son-in-law Jared Kushner has been the sole actor undermining even some of the most lukewarm immigration proposals put forward by his father-in-law.

Why? To make a ton of money.

President Trump’s greatest weakness now is his inability to recognize that his son-in-law is the leader of a faction within the White House whose interests come at the expense of the very people who voted for him.

If President Donald Trump is serious about draining the swamp, he ought to start with his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Kushner raised eyebrows when he strutted into the role of pandemic point man for the White House, alongside his former roommate and a handful of McKinsey & Company management consultants. As Chris Buskirk wrote in these pages, Team McKinsey has “a history of doing little more than helping failing institutions fail in style while growing rich in the process.”

Project Airbridge, Kushner’s plan to take the reins of the Federal Emergency Management Agency supply-chain task force and partner with private companies to fly health care supplies to New York City from China, lived up to the McKinsey style.

Never mind that the Chinese government, through state-run media, threatened to plunge America into “the mighty sea of coronavirus” as we grappled with the pandemic. Kushner’s solution for a problem caused by China, and exacerbated by our manufacturing dependency on that country, was to turn to Beijing for “help.” Managed decline, brought to you by Kushner and McKinsey & Company.

America Has a Jared Kushner Problem

Kushner’s record in the public and private sector is long and mediocre. After he took over the New York Observer, the newspaper stopped its weekly print edition that had been in operation since 1987.

“Kushner paid $1.8 billion,” Michelle Goldberg reports, “for a Manhattan skyscraper at the very top of the real estate market in 2007. The debt from that project became a crushing burden for the family business.”

His immigration plan, shopped to GOP senators in a PowerPoint presentation, was dismissed as “laughably simplistic.” His plan for the Palestinian economy was lampooned by Michael J. Koplow of the Israel Policy Forum as “the Monty Python version of Israeli-Palestinian peace, where no contention is too absurd to be floated.”

Nevertheless, the president looks on as Kushner performs the political equivalent of jamming square pegs in round holes, encouraging him to try and try again.

Amid the sound and fury of the pandemic, most people didn’t notice that it was a health insurance company closely connected to Kushner, Oscar Health, that undertook development for a coronavirus website in partnership with the government. Kushner’s younger brother Joshua co-founded Oscar and is a major investor in the company, “and Jared Kushner partially owned or controlled Oscar before he joined the White House,” according to an exclusive report in the Atlantic. Though Oscar did the work free of charge before abruptly shutting down, it rightly raised the hackles of ethics lawyers.

“It’s not typical. It’s usually not allowed,” said Jessica Tillipman, an assistant dean at the George Washington University School of Law and an expert on anti-corruption law. “The concern, when you have some free services, is that it makes the government beholden to the company,” Tillipman added. If something is free, it means the consumer is also the product.

Kushner consistently has played down events, yet, according to Politico, he’s pining for the creation of a national coronavirus surveillance system. The system is intended to give the government information about patients and treatment in real-time, aiming at Kushner’s goal of providing “informed, data-driven decisions.”

It would, of course, come at the cost of privacy, harvesting a trove of data in a world where such a resource is lucrative, all while placing Kushner—a man who is “Beijing’s point of interest” in the administration—at the center of it all.

Oh, Lucky Man!


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