When I watch Jared Kushner speak on television, I am immediately reminded of Little Lord Fauntleroy – a person who is spoiled, conceited, and characterized by a pompous air of decadence, intellectualism, and moral superiority. Little Lord Fauntleroy was the major character in a novel of the same name by the British author, Frances Hodgson Burnett, published in 1886.
As Washington Post columnist Max Boot points out, Kushner is the type of rich, privileged person who former University of Oklahoma and Dallas Cowboys football coach Barry Switzer described as “born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple.” His sense of unwarranted hubris was enhanced by his unmerited admission to Harvard.
Jared attended high school at The Frisch School in Paramus where he was a less than stellar student. A former official at the Frisch School told renowned journalist and author Daniel Goldman, “There was no way anybody in the administrative office of the school thought he would on the merits get into Harvard. His GPA did not warrant it; his SAT scores did not warrant it. We thought for sure, there was no way this was going to happen. Then, lo and behold, Jared was accepted. It was a little bit disappointing because there were at the time other kids we thought should really get in on the merits, and they did not.”
Goldman’s research revealed the most plausible explanation for Jared’s unanticipated admission. He found that in 1998, not long before Jared was admitted, his father, Charles, a billionaire real estate developer pledged $2.5 million to Harvard.
Five years after Jared’s admission into Harvard, in 2004, Charlie Kushner pleaded guilty to tax violations, illegal campaign donations, and retaliating against a witness. It appeared that any political aspirations that Charlie and Jared Kushner, father and son may have had were hopeless.
But through marriage to Ivanka Trump, daughter of Donald Trump, Jared was able to effectuate one of the most meteoric personal rises in the history of American politics. Boot, a conservative intellectual, says as a real estate developer Kushner “was primarily known for overpaying for an office building located at 666 Fifth Avenue and for buying and destroying the spunky New York Observer. He arrived at the White House with no obvious qualifications and so many conflicts of interest that he did not qualify for a security clearance until Trump overrode the concerns of career professionals.”
The Trumps are America’s Romanovs, and regarding political matters, Kushner is the Rasputin of the Trump White House. Little Lord Fauntleroy Kushner has morphed into Rasputin Kushner – and Rasputin Kushner is much more dangerous.
Jared’s incompetence and insensitivity on political and governmental matters should not have surprised anybody, given his total lack of any political or governmental experience prior to Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign for the presidency. The American electorate is well aware of the appalling degree of influence the politically inept Kushner has gained as special assistant to the president.
During just the past month, America experienced three episodes of Kushner’s incompetence. The first was the total failure of his task force in procuring testing equipment. The second was his description of the Trump response to the pandemic and economic meltdown as an administration “success story.” The third was his refusal to rule out the possibility of the Trump administration changing the election date after being asked about it twice.
“Kushner’s statement reveals amazing ignorance of the Constitution and law,” tweeted Bill Kristol, the neoconservative political commentator and editor at large of the Bulwark. “It reveals startling arrogance in taking for granted he gets to have some say about when the election is held. It also reveals an utter lack of understanding of his very subordinate role in our democracy.”
This statement by Kristol, in a nutshell, explains why Howell Raines, the former executive editor of the New York Times stated that Kushner was incompetent and that he would not have had even a junior position in the Reagan administration.
Recently, the renowned Washington Post columnist Karen Tumulty wrote a column about Jared Kushner’s incompetence, entitled “Save us all from Jared Kushner.”
I would suggest that this becomes a national prayer.
Alan Steinberg served as regional administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush and as executive director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission.