Gastonia, NC Correspondent-Back in the ‘70s, my father took a job as the assistant superintendent of education for the state of Louisiana. Shortly after he was hired, his boss went to prison for various corruption schemes. That man’s successor was an absolute study in Louisiana politics at its finest. Within seven months of his having taking office, every single one of his immediate family members, along with a goodly number of cousins, aunts and uncles, had been given jobs with the state.
The employment of Jared Kushner as Trump’s senior adviser, along with the hiring of countless other cronies, pals and hangers-on to a variety of government posts, is starting to give Washington, D.C. a distinct Baton Rouge flair. If this keeps up, Donald will be putting Ivanka in charge of a Marine division and giving recent college graduate Tiffany Trump control of the Federal Reserve.
Let me be clear: This is nothing new. Presidents have always handed out things like ambassadorships and other choice, cushy posts to their political backers and friends. Being named ambassador to France isn’t so much a job as a reward for a cheese-loving supporter with a fat wallet and a penchant for large contributions.
Trump, however, is kicking it up a level. When you start letting your in-laws walk the corridors of power and put them in positions of tremendous influence, you’re truly dealing in Bayou Politics. He’s surrounding himself with people who are beholden to him in various ways, and thus will not have the benefit of anyone with the cojones to tell him when he’s making a fool of himself or to find a way to disable his Twitter account before he becomes to first world leader to start a war in 140 characters or less.
Owatonna, MN Correspondent– The phrase “conflict of interest” can be interpreted in many ways. One way is to see a conflict of interest as a personal issue. With that definition, Kushner being appointed by Trump to be an adviser illustrates a conflict of interest because they are related by marriage, which is a diluted version of nepotism. A second interpretation of “conflict of interest” is that Kushner is a major player in Trump’s profession of real estate. This may become a concern because Kushner and Trump could possibly collaborate on decisions and policy that will benefit real estate in general and their own businesses in particular.
Another way to view conflict of interest is through the lens of the government as a whole. Politicians often stress that they will endeavor to choose the best, most qualified candidates for all the appointments and staff positions they will fill once in office. Unfortunately, reality shows that appointees are often chosen based on political loyalty or size of donations rather than excellent credentials.
Even though Kushner is Trump’s son-in-law, was his de facto campaign manager and chief strategist, and is in the same business as Trump, he certainly seems to be qualified personally, morally, ethically, and intellectually. He lacks in experience, but overall, his appointment from an ability standpoint appears to show the least amount of conflict of interest.
We should be concerned about Kushner’s appointment on many levels, but like all administrations, Trump’s should be given a chance to succeed or fail on its own merits. A president should have those he trusts the most advising him on policy and decision-making. As long as Trump’s and Kushner’s business interests don’t directly benefit from their actions in the White House, they must be presumed to be not guilty of having a conflict of interest.
Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent- Jared Kushner’s recent appointment as a senior adviser to President Trump came under scrutiny as a conflict of interest or nepotism. There are questions as to whether the president’s son-in-law’s appointment was valid.
According to the Justice Department, and a deputy assistant attorney general, the president is not forbidden from appointing his son-in-law to the position. A 1967 law has exempted the appointment from conflict as the law states that public officials cannot appoint relatives to federal agencies they can control. Since Mr. Kushner has not been appointed to a federal agency, his appointment as an adviser would be allowed.
Jared Kushner will not be paid in his role as an adviser, and he has divested himself from an investment firm as well as his ownership in the New York Observer, and he has resigned as the chief executive of his family’s real estate company, Kushner Cos., to adhere to government ethics standards.
President Trump is not the first president to have utilized family members as close advisers. President Kennedy chose his brother Robert as attorney general, and President Clinton put his wife, Hillary in charge of a drive to overhaul America’s health care system.
The controversy over the appointment of Mr. Kushner existed because those in the Democrat party and ethics advisers to the party wanted to create conflict over President Trump’s appointment when they had no authority or reason to do so, other than to stir up a controversy because of the president’s connection to his son-in-law. They were against Trump from the beginning despite his desires and actions to turn the country around, and Jared Kushner would be part of aiding in those transactions, so naturally opposition would exist.
Mr. Kushner is an asset to a Trump administration with his expertise and knowledge in a number of crucial areas, and he has forfeited income in return for an advisory position that will help to elevate the country and not him. There are presidential advisors that defend what is for the good of the country, and Jared Kushner certainly has the qualifications.
Critics just need to remember that the White House is not a federal agency and presidential authority permits appointments to the White House Office, son-in-law, brother, wife or otherwise, which translates, there is not a conflict of interest.