President-elect Donald Trump's decision to install his son-in-law as a key aide not only poses glaring conflict of interest challenges to the nascent Trump administration, it places Trump among the ranks of some of history's most notorious tinpot dictators.
The Intercept's Jon Schwarz wrote on Monday that Raul Castro, Benito Mussolini and Saddam Hussein all appointed their sons-in-law to key positions within their regimes.
"And legalities aside, a world leader turning his son-in-law into one of his foremost advisers has an extremely creepy vibe," Schwarz said, "because it’s straight out of the third world dictator playbook. Raul Castro’s son-in-law has worked for him for decades and now runs the Cuban military’s businesses. Saddam Hussein’s son-in-law was perhaps his top deputy and supervised his WMD programs during the 1980s. Further back, Benito Mussolini’s son-in-law served as his foreign minister (until Mussolini had him executed)."
Schwarz contends that Kushner's nepotistic ascent to one of the most powerful jobs in the country is indicative of the U.S.'s slide into becoming a banana republic.
"All this matters because Kushner may be the single most important influence on Trump. Before the election the Times called Kushner Trump’s 'de facto campaign manager,' and a Trump adviser referred to him as 'the final decision-maker' in Trump’s inner circle -- despite the fact that Kushner had no official title," he said.
One of Trump and Kushner's first tasks will be overcoming a 1967 anti-nepotism law that prohibits government officials from hiring relatives “in the agency in which he is serving or over which he exercises jurisdiction or control."
Kushner's legal team are reportedly preparing to argue that the White House is not an "agency" and therefore is immune to the 1967 statute.