OPED: Will the Trump-Kushner war room serve Russian tea?
Apparently, what this country needs — really, really needs — is a White House war room to go after all those people who think secret talks with Russian spies are bad and to make sure everyone knows how incredibly wonderful Donald Trump truly is.
Voila! That is exactly what we are going to get. Forget jobs, jobs, jobs. And tax reform. And cheaper health care insurance. And a fair society. And a protected environment.
Each of the past five presidents enacted legacy legislation in the first seven months of his presidency. Trump is nowhere close to doing that.
Instead, the White House is going to war over the fact that there are people who want to investigate why half the top people in Trump’s campaign met secretly with Russians or plotted to meet secretly with Russians.
Jared Kushner, the 36-year-old real estate guy who bought the world’s most expensive building and couldn’t make it pay and who is never heard but now sits at the right hand of the president, tried to set up a secret connection with Russia. He wanted to use Russian spy technology so American intelligence agencies would not know about his secret talks with bankers and spies. At the time, he had no government position; he was a son-in-law to a man who hadn’t yet been sworn into office.
And, folks, guess who is going to run the war room? Yes! Jared Kushner. Who also is supposed to be responsible for Middle East peace, revamping the federal government, American innovation, giving advice on such things as firing FBI directors, sending more soldiers to war, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. The same Jared Kushner who is under investigation by the FBI for his Russian contacts. It’s a small world after all.
To be fair, Kushner is relatively young. He probably doesn’t know that Vladimir Putin kills his opponents, ran the most corrupt Olympic Games ever, has become the richest political leader in world history by stealing from his people, hacks our computers and meddled in our democratic election.
Kushner must not know that the Russian government truly hates the United States and is determined to weaken us in every way. He definitely doesn’t understand that Russia is in a position to do our America far more harm than all the terrorists put together.
We do know White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner’s real estate business needed big-buck loans and investors. Russian oligarchs have a lot of money with which to befriend people they want to influence.
We do know that Kushner is also in charge of relations with China and that members of his family went to China to suggest that rich Chinese who invest in the Kushner business could get visas for themselves and their families to the United States. Unseemly, if legal.
People who didn’t know Jared Kushner predicted he’d be a moderating, level-headed influence keeping the impetuous, inexperienced, undisciplined Trump in prudent check. It turns out that young Jared often stokes his father-in-law’s intemperate impulses and doesn’t have the background or knowledge to advise Trump on major matters such as climate change and diplomacy and firing the FBI director who was investigating Trump’s people.
Who would have imagined six months ago we’d be quarreling with our best friends Great Britain, France and Germany? After Trump’s taunting of NATO and unfathomable alliance with Putin, what is Europe’s incentive to help with Afghanistan, Iran or North Korea?
Who would have thought that Trump would want to gut the National Park Service, keeper of our crown jewels?
Or cut some benefits for disabled veterans, forcing them on to Social Security even if they didn’t contribute enough while working to qualify.
Or abrogate the traditional U.S. moral high-ground leadership role on human rights, environmental protection and free trade.
Or not do everything possible to save the planet.
Or not even keep in step with what the majority of American people want. But then Trump has never cared about that.
Meanwhile, back to picking out drapes and furniture for the brand new White House war room with its raft of newly hired lawyers. It may have a Russian theme. Maybe it will be on the White House tour. That way, we can see where the money went.
— Ann McFeatters is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may send her email at firstname.lastname@example.org.