Meet the Shadow-President-Elect

His name his Jared Kushner. He was Trump’s closest adviser during the campaign, has now taken over the transition, and, if Trump gets his way, will soon have Top Secret clearance and will be sitting next to Trump during national security briefings.

Now, it’s clear that someone has to pay attention during security briefings (and all matters that require learning something), since Trump has an extremely short attention span, no capacity for study or preparation, and prefers to make decisions based on intuition, which, unfortunately, changes from minute to minute and seems mostly to reflect the views of the last person he talked to. But Jared Kushner?

The younger Bush was similar to Trump when it came to learning and paying attention, and he delegated almost all the heavy lifting to Dick Cheney. A lot of people initially took comfort in the fact that Cheney was a serious political player, a man of “gravitas” with a very impressive resume, including being a congressman, Secretary of Defense, and of course, Vice President. He already had Top Secret clearance, so he didn’t need to bend any laws to get it. But despite the qualifications and gravitas, the shadow presidency of Dick Cheney was a disaster.

Kushner is as unqualified to hear national security briefings as Trump. Our 1967 anti-nepotism laws specifically make him ineligible, but if anyone thinks that will prevent Trump from getting his way, well, no. Let’s just hope the son-in-law has a better attention span than the father-in-law.

In any case, we are about to have both a manifestly unqualified president and a manifestly unqualified shadow president as well. This can’t be good.

Kushner is Trump’s son-in-law, married to daughter Ivanka.  He’s a lot like Trump was at his age – inherited real estate money, had help getting into good schools, and partnered with his father on almost all things. It’s not clear what his business “successes” might be, but then he’s only 35 years old. He has no government experience and certainly no gravitas.

As with Trump, family loyalty and alliances are what matter to Kushner, and, like Trump, he’s a vindictive little shit. Look forward to four years of settling scores, real and imagined. It has already started with the gutting of Chris Christie’s transition work over the last couple of months. Christie may be a Trump supporter, but he’s on Kushner’s enemies list because he prosecuted Kushner’s sleazebag father  and put him in jail in New Jersey. Therefore Christie must be punished, diminished, and his work must be scrapped.

Anyway, if you thought that Trump would have the good sense to surround himself with vetted experts and experienced operatives, you were mistaken. What you saw in the campaign is what you’ll be getting for the next four years.

If you thought, as Obama suggested, that the seriousness of the office has a way of sobering you up and making you understand the importance of the task at hand, it looks like that, too, is in doubt. Your new shadow-president is Jared Kushner.

 

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