How was Kushner qualified? Was he a doctor? A scientist?
In fact, Kushner was even better. He was someone who had proven to the president that he could get things done. He knew how to bore into the essentials of an issue. He knew how to think strategically. He knew how to spot talent and he knew how to get people to work together.
When Donald Trump wanted to move the American embassy to Jerusalem, something that six American presidents had promised and never delivered, he asked Kushner to find out why and get it solved. George W. Bush had even mocked his predecessor, Bill Clinton, for failing to keep his promise, declaring that he would make the move on day one. But in eight years of George W. Bush it never happened.
Within weeks of winning the White House, Kushner’s team bore into the heart of the problem and came back with some surprising options. Some of this story is reported in "Inside Trump’s White House."
Some of the story is still classified.
The foreign minister of Mexico raved about Kushner, telling me that he had never met someone with such mental clarity. All three countries liked the new agreement better. Kushner gave all the credit to the President and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
Conservatives and liberals both misunderstand Jared Kushner.
Liberals have decided that he is a poor advocate for their cause and conservatives imagine he is the fountain of anything liberal that the Trump administration even considers. In fact, I found Kushner to be no ideologue at all. He is focused on preparing options for his boss, quickly, discretely and dispassionately.
Liberals should be happy that because of Kushner President Trump is given every argument for every competing policy.
Conservatives should know that once the president makes a decision, Kushner will defend him to the death.
When Donald Trump brought his daughter, Ivanka, onto the White House staff, she became the 18th son or daughter to serve with her presidential father. Presidential children and in-laws abound in various capacities throughout history. "Jacky" Custis, stepson to George Washington, served on the general’s senior staff in the battle of Yorktown.
In modern times, Anna Roosevelt ran the White House for FDR during his last year in office. She organized the White House role in the Yalta Conference. Susan Ford served in the photography shop. Chip Carter had his own office and was paid by the Democratic National Committee. John Eisenhower lived with his presidential father in the private quarters of the White House. His wife, Barbara, daughter-in-law to the president, was the official hostess on the road since first lady, Mamie Eisenhower, had a fear of flying.
Why do presidents call on help from their own families? Because loyalty is paramount. A president must be able to trust what he is hearing and reading. He must be able to trust the staff who brings it to him.
It's not good enough to sit in the Roosevelt Room and hear from 20 experts. He needs to know that the experts were vetted and their opinions balanced by someone whose only agenda is his success.
Jared and Ivanka Kushner do not need their White House jobs. They are paid nothing and have given up millions of dollars to serve their country. They will do just fine after leaving the White House in both the private and public sectors.
In time, I suspect, they may serve as ambassadors or cabinet officers, in future administrations. But if they can help the President win the war against the Coronavirus, if they can help save lives, it will be worth the hatred spewing forth from corporate media personalities who have never even met them.
"I have no time for bitterness," Ivanka once told me. "My life is too important for me to waste in rivalries and in personal vendettas. I chose not to do that. I chose to think the best of people. I value the opinion of those I love and those I work with. Anyone else? It’s all noise."