Monday, April 3, 2017

The Jared factor

How comfortable are you with the outsized role DJT's son-in-law has been given in this administration?

It appears that, dozens of reports to the contrary notwithstanding, the old man wasn't all that miffed about the Aspen ski trip as the non-repeal-and-non-replace health care bill faltered. Kushner's portfolio has done nothing but expand.

There was the weekend trip to Iraq with the Joint Chiefs of Staff chair. Three's the assignment to be The Guy Who Finally Brokers Peace Between Israel and the Palestinians. He's been assigned another time-worn chestnut as well - making government operate efficiently like a business! How many administrations have tried to push that rock up the hill?

Like his wife, he comes from a family of real-estate developers going back to his grandfather. In 2007, he set a record for the most expensive property purchase in US history, plunking down $1.8 billion for 666 Fifth Avenue.

The family's not without scandal. His father, Charles Kushner, spent two years in federal prison on charges of tax evasion, witness tampering and illegally donating to political campaigns. (The prosecutor was Chris Christie. Could there be anything to the timing by which Christie was eased out of the Trump circle as Jared was given his high profile?)

But it's the hints of left-of-center leanings that unsettle me - that and the fact that DJT sometimes heeds his input:

Ivanka Trump and her husband, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, intervened to get a pending executive order stripped of language critical of an international climate agreement signed by President Barack Obama.
Kushner and Ivanka “intervened to strike language about the climate deal from an earlier draft of the executive order,” sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.
Ivanka and her husband “have been considered a moderating influence on the White House’s position on climate change and environmental issues,” WSJ reports. Now, the executive order will have no mention of the so-called Paris agreement.
President Donald Trump is expected to sign two executive orders in the coming days to begin dismantling Obama’s Climate Action Plan and other costly environmental regulations. The orders reportedly target the Clean Power Plan (CPP), a moratorium on new coal mining leases, and the “Waters of the U.S.” rule.

Trump promised to withdraw from the Paris agreement and stop global warming payments to the U.N. while on the campaign trail. But Trump’s opposition to Obama’s climate agenda seems to be running up against his daughter’s plans.
WSJ noted the “move is the latest sign of influence Mr. Trump’s daughter and Mr. Kushner have in a White House that has seen internal divisions on a variety of issues, including foreign policy.”

What is going to happen now that  new EPA head Scott Pruitt as well as new Energy Secretary Rick Perry are taking decisive measures to move environmental policy away from the fiction of a climate in some kind of trouble due to human activity?

Quite obviously, not everyone in this new administration is on the same page about everything. The question is, as it all moves forward, who gets to determine the page from which folks are reading?

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