There are some interesting things happening in the President Trump White House. Recently President Trump seemed to make comments about his “strategist” Steve Bannon. Anytime someone says “I like you, BUT” – well, the separation is coming. There have been dismissals, but it appears it’s no longer rumor and innuendo. There will be some who won’t survive the first 100 days.
And here’s something that’s really giving me the willies.
As reported by the Washington Free Beacon, “White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner is leading an unprecedented effort to meddle in the White House’s National Security Council, causing mayhem for senior staff who say the president’s son-in-law is interfering in key foreign policy debates, according to Trump administration officials who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.
Kushner has taken aggressive action to micro-manage the NSC, overshadowing even recently installed National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, according to sources both inside and outside the White House who described Kushner’s behavior as highly unusual and damaging to the country’s national security infrastructure. Never before has a White House permitted such a figure to intervene in the NSC, which is traditionally given leeway to investigate foreign policy matters and bring advice to the president. Sources who spoke to the Free Beacon described wide-ranging frustration at the NSC over Kushner’s influence over some of the most important foreign policy portfolios, such as Iraq, Israel, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and China, among others. Senior NSC staff are finding their hands tied when it comes to performing even perfunctory duties, such as talking points and statements on high profile issues that must go through Kushner for approval. Sources who spoke to the Free Beacon described this level of involvement as kneecapping the NSC and contributing to its difficulties formulating policy.”
Jared Kushner is an Ivy League-educated, 36-year-old commercial real estate “expert.” Being president of the United States is not a family business. If those placed into certain positions are now being superseded, especially in matters of national security, by the president’s son-in-law, it will not be long before those individuals exit.
And what is rather perplexing for me to comprehend is, what is the role of White House Chief of Staff (COS), Reince Preibus? The COS is supposed to be the single point of contact for staff coordination. He’s supposed to be the one who has the final ear of the president, and the one to whom everyone goes through to have an audience with the POTUS. It seems that something is amiss in this traditional relationship.
Funny, I’m somewhat confused as to what Kushner’s job is supposed to be…is it solving the Middle East peace process or restructuring the federal government, or what? But one aspect, or character trait, that we all abhorred in my tenure in the military was a micromanaging leader. The last thing anyone wants, and actually it’s antithetical to efficiency, is having someone constantly looking over your shoulder, or demanding incessant updates. A good leader issues guidance and direction and allows the staff to operate and solve the issues. It was rumored that the entire setup for the meeting of President Trump with Chinese President Xi Jinping was crafted by Kushner, still trying to conceive his foreign policy bona fides.
And what is most disconcerting for me is that fact that Jared Kushner is not, shall we say. aligned with the governing philosophy of the party that nominated Donald J. Trump. The concern is whether President Trump’s national security and foreign policy vision will be a constitutional conservative one, or more so a liberal progressive leftist perspective, since Kushner was not a registered Republican.
“Kushner is meddling in a lot of things,” according to one NSC official who spoke to the Free Beacon only on background. “Such direct control of foreign policy from the West Wing has never happened before. It just creates a lot of drama. People just don’t know how to deal with it. We’re respectful of his position, but it’s confusing the policymaking process.”
Officials working at the NSC, State Department, and Department of Defense “are not happy that Jared is so powerful in foreign policy,” said one White House official. “They are expected to implement the president’s agenda, but have no input or ability to get ideas in front of Jared. It’s a one-man show and that’s creating a lot of frustration.” The installation of Dina Powell, a confidant of Kushner’s wife Ivanka, to the NSC is said to have been orchestrated by Kushner in order to solidify his power over the foreign policy organization, sources said.”
Let’s be honest here, many of us railed against the shadowy figure of one Valerie Jarrett and her influence upon Barack Obama. I referred to her often on these pages as a Rasputin-like figure. I’m having the same reservations about young Mr. Kushner. There was no doubt about national security and defense policy not being run from the Pentagon during the Obama administration, and it would seem we have a repeat performance.
The greater issue is whether or not President Trump trusts those he’s put into critical positions in this vital area. We’ve written here previously about the emergence of “Kushner Kommissars” spread across the agencies overlooking those placed into cabinet positions. This is not an effective means of governance, and who’d want to exist in such an untrusting and toxic environment?
Conservatives must be wary of individuals such as Kushner and Gary Cohn, along with Obama holdover appointees who have preeminent positions in the Trump administration, but politically differ from the base that enabled Trump to be president. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been paying attention to small details, and the use of certain words during the campaign that are missing now. Why hasn’t Trump declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization? Why hasn’t President Trump done anything about the Iranian nuclear agreement? Why is President Trump now talking highly of Federal Reserve Chairman, Janet Yellin, and agreeing with the Fed keeping interest rates low? Why did President Trump publicly attack the Freedom Caucus and talk about seeking support from Democrats?
Yes, I’m very happy we have Justice Gorsuch, but there are some key indicators and warning signs that are causing me, and should cause you, concern. And this expansion of the powers of an untested, inexperienced, and unknown figure such as Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of the president, whose wife also has a White House office just doesn’t sit well with me. I abhor nepotism and cronyism, and we don’t have a constitutional monarchy or a palace for familial rule. Sorry folks, gotta call it as I see it, because my oath was never taken to any individual, but to our Constitution.
I didn’t care for Valerie Jarrett and the power she wielded in the Obama administration. And I’m starting to get that same sick feeling in my belly about Jared Kushner. And yep, I’d tell him or President Trump that right to their faces.