By Greg Olear
AT LONG LAST, Ted Lieu has an answer.
For the last four years, the Congressman from California has gamely asked some variation of this question, with nary a peep from the White House:
Now we know the reason: Jared Kushner is the Acting President of the United States, and one can’t be Acting President of the United States without access to those sweet, sweet intelligence reports. For the last three-plus years, this pasty, Ken Doll motherfucker has exploited that ill-gained security clearance, and his hold over his idiot father-in-law, with two objectives in mind:
- Make as much money as possible
- Avoid indictment
That’s it. Every move he’s made since he joined the campaign in the fall of 2015 has been to further one or both of those two objectives. Nothing else matters to this guy. Literally, nothing. Boy Plunder doesn’t care if his buddy MBS uses US intelligence to purge the royal family, or US arms to exterminate some Yemenis. He doesn’t care if Saudi hit squads take a bone-saw to journalists. He doesn’t care about the shit stirred up by needlessly moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. He doesn’t care about the opioid crisis. And he sure as hell doesn’t care about the 157,000 Americans who have died of the novel coronavirus, a number growing exponentially because he personally mismanaged the pandemic response.
As Katherine Eban revealed in last week’s damning Vanity Fair piece, Jared Kushner, tasked by Trump in March to figure out a plan for the federal pandemic response, formed a team of “Morgan Stanley bankers liaising with billionaires,” a group that included his college roommate, to tackle the problem. None of them had a background in public health. By some miracle, the team managed to devise a workable plan that called for aggressive, widespread, centralized testing—only to have it go “poof into thin air” in April, as one participant told Eban. This is how come:
President Trump had been downplaying concerns about the virus and spreading misinformation about it—efforts that were soon amplified by Republican elected officials and right-wing media figures. Worried about the stock market and his reelection prospects, Trump also feared that more testing would only lead to higher case counts and more bad publicity. Meanwhile, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, was reportedly sharing models with senior staff that optimistically—and erroneously, it would turn out—predicted the virus would soon fade away.
Against that background, the prospect of launching a large-scale national plan was losing favor, said one public health expert in frequent contact with the White House’s official coronavirus task force.
Most troubling of all, perhaps, was a sentiment the expert said a member of Kushner’s team expressed: that because the virus had hit blue states hardest, a national plan was unnecessary and would not make sense politically. “The political folks believed that because it was going to be relegated to Democratic states, that they could blame those governors, and that would be an effective political strategy,” said the expert.
That logic may have swayed Kushner. “It was very clear that Jared was ultimately the decision maker as to what [plan] was going to come out,” the expert said.
In other words, Jared Kushner deliberately exacerbated a global pandemic by kibboshing the national testing plan his own buddies had come up with, apparently hoping for a blue state genocide that, in his twisted calculus, would help Trump win re-election—and thus fulfill the “avoid prison” objective (plus also the “make money” objective, what with all the side deals with his cronies that we’re slowly finding out about). To be clear: we don’t know the inner workings of Kushner’s dim mind, and can’t say for certain what motivated him to stand down. But why else would he kill the proposal he himself commissioned, if not to serve his own interests?
In early April, it should be noted, when the Jared Roommate Plan was scuttled, two of the hardest-hit states were New York and New Jersey—the two states Kushner’d lived in all of his life until moving to the District in 2017. In his view, those Empire and Garden State residents are disposable, expendable. That population not only includes me and most of my extended family—it includes most of Jared’s extended family and many of his friends as well.
That’s what a stand-up guy Kushner is. He’s perfectly willing to let friends and family die to get what he wants. He is the living embodiment of the “banality of evil.”
But then, despite being lamentably mediocre in every way, Jared Kushner was raised to believe that he’s better than everyone else. He thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room, despite four decades of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
After an undistinguished stint at the Frisch School, the Orthodox Jewish academy in New Jersey that graduated him in 1999, he and his ho-hum SAT scores were nevertheless admitted to Harvard University—right after his billionaire old man wrote them a check for $2.5 million.
That billionaire old man would be Charles Kushner, the real estate magnate and Bibi Netanyahu crony who went to prison for illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion, and witness tampering—that last charge involved him setting up his brother-in-law with a honeypot prostitute of his acquaintance, covertly filming the encounter, and sending the footage to his sister. Stop and read that sentence again—that’s who these people are. Jared is a chip off the old block, as they say. The acorn doesn’t fall far from the treason.
Jared took over control of the family real estate business when Pops was in the hoosegow, promptly plucking down $1.8 billion, billion with a “b,” right before the real estate crash to purchase 666 Fifth Avenue, a Manhattan property that remains an albatross around the neck of the family business. (It may still ruin them, God willing.) A few years later, he bought and dismantled the august New York Observer, when he tried to turn a Gotham institution known for its arch writing into an online “content creator” of listicles. This was the literary equivalent of Trump buying and obliterating the facade of the Bonwit Teller building. From a business standpoint, imagine acquiring the rights to Daniel Day Lewis and Meryl Streep, and then casting them exclusively as the parents on some Disney Channel tween comedy, and you can appreciate just how dunderheaded that decision was.
Kushner took over the social media arm of the Trump campaign in 2015, but it didn’t really take off until the following June, right around the time he was meeting with the Russians in Trump Tower. But Forbes wrote a glowing profile of him anyway. How glowing? The first page contains this sentence:
Trump’s son-in-law, dressed in an impeccably tailored gray suit, sitting on a brown leather couch in his impeccably neat office, displays the impeccably polite manners that won the 35-year-old a dizzying number of influential friends even before he had gained the ear, and trust, of the new leader of the free world.
That makes me want to impeccably vomit into my impeccably wide-open mouth, but I guess landing an exclusive interview with such an Important Person means that impeccable ass must be impeccably kissed. Here’s another line from the Forbes piece, and it’s telling:
“It’s hard to overstate and hard to summarize Jared’s role in the campaign,” says billionaire Peter Thiel, the only significant Silicon Valley figure to publicly back Trump. “If Trump was the CEO, Jared was effectively the chief operating officer.”
Nothing has changed. Jared is still the COO. He’s the Acting President. Which is one of the many reasons the Trump Administration has been such a disaster. Because Kushner’s political instincts are not just mediocre; they are comically, curve-bustingly bad. I don’t have the time or energy to do so here, but I assure you that virtually every head-scratchingly awful political decision of the last four years has been a Jared joint. One example: it was Jared who suggested that Trump fire James Comey a day after meeting with Russian jackals in the Oval Office, convinced that Democrats would applaud the move.
This political tonedeafness is not a surprise. Just as Trump has been “institutionalized” his entire life, as Mary Trump reveals in Too Much and Never Enough, Kushner too has been like the Bubble Boy, insulated from the outside world. His contemptible old man, and now his equally contemptible father-in-law, protect him from rubbing elbows with the hoi polloi. And his cronies David Pecker, at AMI; Rupert Murdoch, at Fox; and Maggie Haberman, at the New York Times—not to mention the impeccable writer of the impeccable Forbes article—help ward off bad press coverage. The guy hasn’t the foggiest clue how other people live. And he has neither the incentive nor the intellectual curiosity to find out.
In December of 2018, I published a piece called “Boy Plunder: The Many Crimes of Jared Kushner,” outlining all the illegal shit the president’s son-in-law had done since joining the Trump campaign. Nothing has changed since then:
It was and remains illegal to weaponize data to tamper with an election.
It was and remains illegal for presidential campaigns to solicit help from foreign sources, and also to concertedly hide the trail of doing so.
It was and remains illegal to do business with banks on the US sanctions list.
It was and remains illegal to collude with tabloids to attack critics of the president.
It was and remains illegal to provide classified intelligence to a foreign government, especially as quid pro quo for personal gain. (This is called “espionage,” and engaging in it sent the Rosenbergs to the electric chair).
It was and remains illegal to fail to warn a US citizen that he is in harm’s way, if you know about the plan in advance.
It was and remains illegal to use personal email for government business—which, considering the hay made of HRC’s emails four years ago, should not be a surprise, even to this Harvard-educated dolt.
And, as Ted Lieu has pointed out for years, it was and remains illegal to lie on your SF-86 form. Why does Jared Kushner have a security clearance?
Kushner flaunted the law back in 2016/17, and there were zero consequences. On the contrary, as a courtesy he didn’t deserve, he was given a mulligan—several times—when he was caught omitting stuff on his SF-86 form. So he kept doing crimes. For the last 20 months, he’s been strutting around like George III in Hamilton, as if the law does not apply to him. Because, again, he’s been taught to believe that he’s better than the rest of us. Which is why he’d happily exchange a hundred and a half thousand more lives for four more years as Acting President.
If the Vanity Fair reporting is true—and there’s no reason to believe it isn’t; serial liar Kayleigh McEnany’s requisite denial (“The premise of this article is completely false.”) is not particularly convincing—we can add “crimes against humanity” to Kushner’s rap sheet. Again: he knowingly and wittingly exacerbated a public health crisis, apparently in the misguided belief that covid-19 would kill more Democrats than Republicans. How is that not attempted genocide?
If our republic is to survive, Jared Kushner must pay for his crimes. Including, and especially, his most recent one—which is also his most heinous. Enough.
Photo credit: The indefatigable Gage Skidmore. Jared Kushner speaking with attendees at the 2019 Teen Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, D.C.
Tags : AMI, Blue, bone-saw, Charles Kushner, COO, COVID-19, cronies, David Pecker, Dr. Deborah Birx, evil, exacerbated, Felon, Fisch School, Forbes, Fox, Greed, illegal, indictment, Jared Kushner, Jerusalem, Katherine Eban, Mary Trump, MBS, money, Morgan Stanley, Murder, Pandemic, Republicans, room mate, roommate, Rubert Murdock, Saudi Arabia, SF-86, Social Media, Tax evasion, Ted Lieu, Too Much and Never Enough, Trump, Vanity Fair, vomit, White House, witness tampering, Yemenis