The Black Death or the Bubonic Plague, ravaged Europe in the 14th century. By some estimates in the year 1347 alone almost one third of the population of Europe died. The disease was so contagious that doctors and priests refused to visit the sick. Relatives abandoned their own marriage partners and children. Frequently those with the plague were left to die alone.
Our nation's first daughter's latest cause, providing food to needy families, has resulted in one billion meals to America’s poor.
The president could see that his resilient economy was indeed roaring back from the coronavirus shutdowns. However, some were not able to get work and income quickly enough. When Trump announced a bridge program "farmers to families" he asked Ivanka to take the lead. In a curious way, this program cements Ivanka Trump’s own role as a figure in history.
She is not just one of the most extraordinary presidential daughters to have worked in the White House, she has entered a rare pantheon of women humanitarians.
Audrey Hepburn, used her beauty to raise money for UNICEF to feed the hungry. Lady Di used her fame to show us how to embrace the victims of AIDS. Melinda Gates uses her wealth to promote women in the workforce, including technology. Ivanka Trump adds the power of her White House office to promote a long list of issues that would have been neglected without her.
I first met Ivanka Trump through her work combating human trafficking. At the request of the FBI, my wife and I were hosting Nigerian students in the United States who had been victims. Ivanka wanted to meet them and hear their stories.
She met us in her office and soon afterwards took us down to meet the president.
It was an eye opening experience and gave me a chance to see the massive work that flowed through Ivanka Trump’s office. She was leading the global effort for Women economic empowerment. This took her too many conferences across the globe. She was heavily involved in workforce development, STEM education, helping workers retrain for jobs that are needed by the new economy.
The national media has been stubborn about awarding any recognition to Ivanka. In the process of its condescending coverage has often ended up with egg on their faces. Such as their rush to judgment about total jobs created by Ivanka, versus net jobs created during the same time period. By any measurement, Ivanka Trump’s work has resulted in many hundreds of thousands of jobs for Americans.
In Pittsburgh last week, Ivanka helped with the food distribution. She was joined by Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, the President’s religious liaison, Paula White, City Serve founder, Dave Donaldson, Mega Church pastor Wendell Vinson and many others.
My own son, Scott Wead, works with CityServe to get food and resources to the neediest of neighborhoods. It's a massive operation which brings smiles of relief to the poorest of Americans.
The farmers were producing food that couldn’t get into the supply chain or in some cases couldn’t be purchased. The poor were living paycheck to paycheck, needing temporary help to feed their families. This project is yet another successful effort promoted out of Ivanka Trump’s White House office.
Ivanka Trump continues to work, graciously, kindly, making a difference while the winds of political resentment and personal jealousy buffet her family.
I was able to interview Ivanka for my book "Inside Trump's White House," and this was her response to the question about critics. "My life is too important for me to waste in rivalries and in personal vendettas," she said. "I choose not to do that. I choose to think the best of people. Most of all, I choose to be happy and aim for impact. This is really important to me. I have no time for bitterness." Ivanka had once told a journalist, "You can’t be a confident, secure person if you are not happy."
In her own book, "The Trump Card," Ivanka took Rudyard Kipling’s view of criticism. "I get it from both sides, the good and the bad. And I’ve learned to ignore it. To rise above it. I refuse to let the opinions of others define how I see myself."
"I value the opinions of those I love," Ivanka once told me. "And those I work with. Anyone else? It’s all noise."
In a subsequent interview, as journalists and writers like to do, I repeated some of the same questions, just in case I might get a nuanced, more revealing answer. Once more I asked her, "How do you handle the criticism?" I was glad that I did. "On a human level," she said. "On a very personal level, it can be very difficult, very challenging. Especially when it is wrong. Although, I’m pretty thick skinned."
"Then she added this line: "For me, the most important thing is the truth that I know."
(Quotes taken from "Inside Trump’s White House.")
When President Donald Trump announced that his son in law, Jared Kushner, would help lead the effort to save us from the coronavirus the Democratic Party and its obedient corporate media lackeys had a fit.
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.
When Donald Trump declared the 17,000 page North American Free Trade Agreement a fraud, he assigned Kushner the job of forging an agreement that Mexico, Canada and the United States would like better. Kushner did so within months.
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."
The current fight against COVID-19 favors a president who is quick to decide, willing to let businesses help out, friendly with the media, and motivated by a deep desire to handle the crisis right.
Of the seven most recent presidents, none had everything going for them, but two had three of the four needed traits: Donald Trump and Bill Clinton.
GERALD R. FORD
Perfect for the Cold War. Relentless. Even-headed. Like Trump, Ronald Reagan was not swayed by the majority but saw things realistically. He had an iron will to stand up against evil and a soft heart for the weak. And the media could not sway him from either course. Like Trump, the media hated him. But he would not be on top of this crisis. It demands too much decisive action that he just would not take.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH
Bill Clinton seems to have some of the emotional qualities needed to deal with this current crisis. Of course, if it had happened on his own watch, with all that was going on in his personal life, it could have been disastrous.
But if he were the president today, like Trump, he would have a deep desire to do it right, and, like Trump, he would know how to merge some of the best of the private and public sectors. He also would have media allies.
GEORGE W. BUSH
Barak Obama‘s presidency was over as soon as he was elected. He was given the Nobel Peace Prize. As the first African American president, he is assured a huge place in history. He had no drive to do anything. Obama saw everything as the responsibility of others. He blamed everything bad that happened in his administration on his predecessor and then tried to take credit for all the good that happened under Trump.
Donald Trump was born for this moment. He has a strong desire to handle it well. He knows how to bring back the economy in a way that Obama couldn’t. He has the confidence and optimism of Reagan and no help from the media. A more establishment Republican would hesitate before committing to a large government program. Trump has no qualms about it. As a former businessman, Trump also set corporations free to help.
There is one other element to understanding Trump. He was on the motivational circuit. I was too. We all expect our leaders to be winners. We want our surgeon, our airline pilot, our accountant, our attorney to all be winners. He wants to be a winner as a president. He wants to live up to the speeches he gave onstage as a motivational speaker.
Why Trump Is The Perfect President To Handle The Coronavirus Crisis
Doug Wead is a historian and New York Times bestselling author. He has served as an adviser to two American presidents, co-authored a book with one of them and served on senior staff at the White House.