Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is reportedly going to be named to a role in the incoming administration as “senior adviser” to the president.
This report comes from a copy of the first ever Axios AM morning e-newsletter, which was obtained by The Hill.
Axios, a just-launched news media startup, describes itself on its website as “a new media company delivering vital, trustworthy news and analysis in the most efficient, illuminating, and shareable ways possible.” Its Axios AM morning e-newsletter is marketed on the company website as an “early-morning guide through the complexity and chaos of the media madness.”
And Axios’s Monday report about Kushner is far from surprising.
The Orthodox Jewish husband of Ivanka Trump has figured hugely in Donald Trump’s transition efforts ever since Trump won the presidency to the extent that the shock over Kushner’s rise to power has long worn off.
Reports, for example, have long circulated that foreign policy concerns that the Obama administration wants to bring to Trump’s attention have to go through Kushner. Such is obviously a position of huge power.
Kushner also served in a key role in Trump’s bid for the White House prior to his shock victory over Hillary Clinton, as expounded upon in a Forbes article written shortly after Election Day.
Longtime prominent Trump supporter and PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel commented to Forbes quite succinctly of Kushner, saying, “It’s hard to overstate and hard to summarize Jared’s role in the campaign. If Trump was the CEO, Jared was effectively the chief operating officer.”
One of Thiel’s counterparts from the other side of the political spectrum spoke similarly. Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, who helped design the Clinton campaign’s technology system, told Forbes, “Jared Kushner is the biggest surprise of the 2016 election. Best I can tell, he actually ran the campaign and did it with essentially no resources.”
And now, Kushner is reportedly carrying his powerful role forward into the soon to be officially formed Trump White House as “senior adviser” to the president.
And in characteristic Trump-ian fashion, there are already serious corruption and conflict of interest problems with Kushner’s pending White House role.
For example, throughout the months that Kushner has been working on behalf of Trump’s bid for the White House, he has also been in negotiations for a Chinese real estate development deal for the “redevelopment” of what The New York Times called the “fading crown jewel of the Kushner family real estate empire.”
To suggest, however, that members of a presidential administration can ethically pursue business deals with foreign powers is ludicrous.
The Constitution itself forbids such in most circumstances. The widely discussed so-called Emoluments Clause reads, in part, “[N]o Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust… shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
The Oxford Dictionaries definition of an emolument describes it as “a salary, fee, or profit from employment or office.”
The New York Times reported on Friday that Kushner was taking the pre-White House job procedural steps of filing financial disclosure documents with the Office of Government Ethics. Only time will tell, however, if Kushner actually pushes off from his business ventures sufficiently enough to avoid conflicts of interest springing up.
One more thing — as for Kushner’s actual personal political views, an incident from shortly after Election Day illustrates them quite well. Speaking to Forbes, he defended the radically alt-right, white nationalist Steve Bannon, saying, “All I know about Steve is my experience working with him. He’s an incredible Zionist and loves Israel.”
Featured Image via Stephen Lovekin/FilmMagic.