Farley Weiss

Jared Kushner and the Trump Adult Children should be allowed to advise the President

What happens when you have an astute adviser that helps you win the Presidency?  What if that adviser happens to be someone you trust implicitly?  What if you know that adviser is always putting your interests first?  The obvious answer is that you want that adviser to be advising you when you are President.  However, when the adviser is a Jewish son in law to the President elect, namely Jared Kushner, somehow not just legal but other questions are being raised by the media and others that in my view are improper.  This applies to the Trump three oldest adult children, one of which, Ivanka,  is Jewish, as well as Kushner.

Even though Jared Kushner did no media interviews and only wrote one article under his own name during the campaign, much has been written about his involvement in President Elect Trump’s campaign for President.  The recent post election Forbes interview with Kushner shed new light on his extraordinary role in helping his father in law win the election.  However, even that article did not touch on his involvement and the Trump adult children’s involvement on some of the most important decisions that were made in the campaign.

For example, reports circulated that the Trump adult children and Jared Kushner supported the ouster of Corey Lewandowski and his replacement by Paul Manafort.  By all accounts, that decision helped Trump win the primary and have a relatively smooth victory at the Convention.   They also helped convince Donald Trump to not pick Chris Christie for VP and instead to choose Mike Pence.   The decision on Pence appears to have been a far better choice  for Donald Trump (especially with the Bridgegate trial involving Christie’s aides occurring just before the election) so again this was good advice by the Trump adult children and Jared Kushner.

However, even if the Pence pick was the right pick, sinister motives were applied to Kushner since Christie, as a former prosecutor, helped put his father in jail.  However, if Kushner was out to get Christie and had such influence over his father in law, then Trump would not have had Christie lead the transition for many months throughout the campaign.  In the Forbes interview, Kushner succinctly said that the campaign was too important to let personal matters to get in the way of allowing Trump run things in a way he thought was best for him to win the election.  Christie was the first opponent of Trump’s to endorse him and his endorsement helped Trump win the primary.  Christie was a regular adviser to Trump and had a major speech at the Convention.

After his election victory, Donald Trump made the decision to replace Christie as head of the transition with VP Elect Mike Pence.  Pence was once part of the Congressional leadership and is his VP elect, whereas Christie was never a legislature in Washington.  Once Pence took over, it was obvious he would put in those loyal to him and replace some members put in by Christie as the Transition was no longer theoretical but real.  There have been press reports that these actions by Pence have been blamed on Jared Kushner.  However, there appears to be no basis to blame Kushner for the decisions by Pence and Kushner has now publicly denied any involvement in these decisions.

The Trump adult children and Kushner were also behind the decision to replace Manafort with Steve Bannon and Kelly Ann Conway.     It is ironic that Bannon is being criticized for alleged ties to the so called alternative right when one of the major changes he and Conway initiated was outreach to the African American and Hispanic communities that did not occur until they took over.    The result of the outreach by Trump led to an increase support in the African American and Hispanic community for Trump to higher levels than Romney or McCain received.  The final result was an election victory for Trump.   Bannon has further publicly expressed his vision going further to vastly increase the Trump Administration’s efforts with the African American and Hispanic communities.  As it relates to Jewish concerns about Bannon, those Jews who have worked with Bannon at Breitbart, including one who left Breitbart, made it clear that they do not believe he is anti-semitic.  They further were unanimous that Bannon showed himself to be a strong supporter of Israel and very respectful of the religious obligations of the Orthodox Jews he hired and which Breitbart put in prominent positions.  Kushner has now publicly expressed a similar sentiment from his time working with Bannon.

In any case, it is natural for Donald Trump to want to have the ability to have Jared Kushner and his adult children to be advising him as President after feeling that their advise helped him win the Presidency. A President elect should be able to have as advisers whoever he feels is best and the nepotism laws should only apply to paid positions but should not restrict a President from being able to get the best advice he wants and needs as President.  A President should be prohibited from appointing family members to paid positions.  However, it should not apply to volunteer positions that would allow family members who are adults and accomplished in their own right to being able to advise a President if the President believes that this will help the President do a better job governing the nation.   If he decides he wants Jared Kushner or any or all of his adult children advising him when their advise helped him win the election then the President should be able to do so.

The article in Forbes made it clear that Kushner had an extraordinary and invaluable role in Trump’s election victory.  Questions being raised as to whether he should be able to advise the President should be, would the President want such a person who did so much for him in the campaign to be advising him if he was not a family member?  The obvious answer is yes.  Accordingly, Kushner and the Trump Adult children should not be prevented from advising the President elect because they are members of his family.  As it relates to potential financial conflicts of interests, rules can and should  be put in place that allows Kushner and the Trump adult children to advise the President and have the ability to continue to run the family businesses.  It should be remembered that we are already talking about very wealthy people that are already likely to get an economic boom just because Donald Trump was elected President.

Finally,  the criticism of Kushner’s role in the press appears to have improper anti Jewish motives when logically, for how much he helped President elect Trump, he should have the ability to advice President Trump if President Trump desires such a role for him.

About the Author
Farley Weiss is the president of the National Council of Young Israel, a member of the Conference of Presidents that represents around 25,000 Orthodox Jewish families and around 130 synagogues across America, the president of the intellectual property law firm of Weiss & Moy, P.C. with offices in Scottsdale, AZ, Boca Raton, FL, and Las Vegas, NV. He has authored opeds in the Arizona Republic, The Jerusalem Post, The Forward, and Hamodia, and has spoken around the country on political issues affecting Israel and American Jewry.
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