Donald Trump Plans to Make Jared Kushner America’s Unelected, Unapproved, Uncontrolled CEO

by Mark Sumner –

If you’ve been waiting for the moment when Donald Trump hands over power … good news! But Trump isn’t officially placing his magic marker scrawl on a resignation. It’s just that, after two whole weeks of trying to get a health care bill passed, he’s tired of all this talking to people and trying to make compromises. So it’s time to shake up America.

President Trump plans to unveil a new White House office on Monday with sweeping authority to overhaul the federal bureaucracy and fulfill key campaign promises — such as reforming care for veterans and fighting opioid addiction — by harvesting ideas from the business world and, potentially, privatizing some government functions.

Because, as the old saying goes, if at first you don’t succeed, sell it off. The fact that government is not anything at all like business, has never bothered Republicans. So it’s not unexpected that Trump might implement a WWWD (What Would Walmart Do) program.

It’s also not unusual for president’s to hand off some executive branch re-think to vice-presidents. Jimmy Carter did a lot to empower the office of VP, giving Walter Mondale a role that was greater than just figurehead. Bill Clinton explicitly aimed Al Gore at streamlining government processes. Joe Biden routinely took on major assignments, from implementing the stimulus package to directing resources against cancer research. And Dick Cheney … yeah.

So for Trump to hand over the task of reorganizing the executive branch to Mike Pence would make some sense. Except, it’s not Pence.

The White House Office of American Innovation, to be led by Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, will operate as its own nimble power center within the West Wing and will report directly to Trump.

While Donald Trump is anxious to destroy existing offices and departments, he’s creating a brand new one, to be led by his 36-year-old son-in-law, a man who has never held elected office, never stood for Senate review, and who isn’t screened out by nepotism laws because … no one knows why.

Viewed internally as a SWAT team of strategic consultants, the office will be staffed by former business executives and is designed to infuse fresh thinking into Washington, float above the daily political grind and create a lasting legacy for a president still searching for signature achievements.

Trump is apparently convinced there’s only one reason why the Republican health insurance debacle debac’d. It’s not because there was a group of Republicans who are so entrenched in saying “no” that they forgot there was another response. It’s not because the entire Republican Party has been put in place with the purpose of making government fail (and they’re darn good at it) not writing legislation that can pass.

No, sweet Republican harmony failed to settle over DC because the Great Dealmaker’s dealmaker chose to spend last week carving slopes in Colorado. Now that Kushner has come in from the cold, Trump will get him to rearrange all the deck chairs in his regime without having to talk to Congress at all.

In a White House riven at times by disorder and competing factions, the innovation office represents an expansion of Kushner’s already far-reaching influence. The 36-year-old former real estate and media executive will continue to wear many hats, driving foreign and domestic policy as well as decisions on presidential personnel. He also is a shadow diplomat, serving as Trump’s lead adviser on relations with China, Mexico, Canada and the Middle East.

This frees up Pence to return to critical appearing on Fox duties, and means that Rex Tillerson can do … nothing much at all. Kushner’s got this.

Only, someone may also have Kushner. Because there’s one problem he shares with the rest of Team Trump.

Senate investigators plan to question Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and a close adviser, as part of their broad inquiry into ties between Trump associates and Russian officials or others linked to the Kremlin, according to administration and congressional officials.

Part of this has to do with that name who was in so many meetings, he’s apparently also part of Trump’s regime, Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak.

Meetings between Trump associates and Russian officials or others linked to Mr. Putin are now of heightened interest as several congressional committees and F.B.I. investigators try to determine the scope of the Russian intervention in the election and links between Russians and anyone around Mr. Trump.

Maybe one of the assignments of Kushner’s new SWAT team of business experts could be to organize the line of Trump associates coming in to testify about Russian connections. Just organizing that schedule is going to keep someone busy.

 

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos