Thursday, August 31, 2017
Jared and Ivanka
Correct me if I'm wrong, but there has never been an administration where the president's children carried so much weight in the White House. Not even Pere Bush involved his two highly political motivated sons to this degree. Enter Ivanka and Jared, who apparently have Trump's ear on many issues and even sit in for him on international summits.
It is hard to gauge exactly how much influence they actually have, as I can't imagine that their father's military transgender ban and press conference on Charlottesville sit well with them. Nor his plans to scrap an Obama era provision that would have forced employers to file reports on the breakdown of salaries by gender, race and ethnicity. This provision was seen as the first step in holding employers accountable when it comes to equal pay for women and minorities. Yet, each and every time Ivanka defends her father's positions.
Jared keeps a lower profile given his heavy workload. Not sure how far he has gotten with negotiations to reach a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine, but he did meet with Abbas this week so he seems to be following through on one of his many tasks in his father-in-law's White House. One would think you would have your state department negotiating thorny settlements like this, but it seems Trump likes to keep things in the family.
I suppose that's the only place he finds "loyalty" these days given the massive shake-up in the White House. Yet, the leaks keep coming, adding further embarrassment to an administration that has yet to record a major legislative victory or major international deal.
Ivanka and Jared are as badly out of their league as is their father. They bring no real experience to the White House other than an ability to plug their own brand and negotiate real estate deals. Even here, neither appears to be particularly good at it.
Yet, they have become the most highly influential children in the White House. Before Gen. Kelly took over as Chief of Staff, Jared was apparently the conduit to Trump. He, more than Rex Tillerson, appears to be Trump's point man on foreign affairs. And, he is heading a "SWAT team" to reinvent government along corporate lines.
Ivanka is serving the traditional functions of first lady given Melania prefers to spend time with Barron and shopping on line. Like a good wife, or in this case good daughter, Ivanka defends Donald's every move, even his infamous Charlottesville comments by not saying anything. We heard a lot about how she would tame her father's rage, but so far no signs of it. Trump is as defiant as ever, often sticking his foot in his mouth, and Ivanka just smiles.
One would think that with Bannon and Gorka now gone, this is "Javanka's" moment to step up. I imagine if anyone can get around Gen. Kelly's iron grip of the White House it is these two. Yet, Trump can't get through a prepared speech without going off the rails and seems determined to alienate Congress with his many attacks on Republican legislators. This is what happens when you have no close adviser that understands the dynamics of Washington. Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer were supposed to fill that role, and we saw how far they got with Trump.
Presidential powers are limited, as His Trumpness is finding out the hard way. He thought he could come in and be CEO of the nation, but you can't get any legislation done except through Congress. He's managed to revoke a great number of Obama executive orders, but few of them had actually taken effect. The one place he can make his mark is on foreign policy and so far all he has managed to do is burn bridges.
Jared is left with the thankless role of picking up the charred pieces and seeing what he can rebuild. So, it seems he has done some good. Again, why wasn't Rex Tillerson assuring Canada that NAFTA was still good instead of Jared?
I'm not sure what these two gain from serving in such a major capacity in their father's White House, other than sweet deals like the one Ivanka snagged when the Chinese premier visited Mar-a-Lago. One assumes Jared's interest is mainly in trade deals as well. They have become America's ultimate Millennial power couple.