The Elephant in the Room
For reasons unknown to man, Jared Kusher -- who has remained largely silent for over two years -- agreed to sit down with the very good, insightful, tough reporter Jonathan Swan of Axios for a long interview. And on Sunday, it was broadcast on HBO. I didn't have the stomach to watch it, but several of the extended clips that got released were telling. Which is a polite word for "ghastly." And they confirmed why I didn't think I could watch the whole thing.
This first, under two minutes long, is a hellish under-two minutes, dealing with the Trump Tower meeting he took with Russian operatives after getting an email to attend. It gets worse after the opening, which is saying a whole lot because the opening is him smarmily (I was going to say "disingenuously," but that's very unfair to the word "disingenuous") asking, "What email?"
"What email?", indeed.
(It remains me of the classic scene from the film Jumbo, based on the Rodgers and Hart musical. In the scene, Jimmy Durante is trying to sneak the title character out of the circus -- a massive elephant. He only gets part of the way, leading the elephant out, when he's stopped by a guard. "Where are you going with that elephant?!" the guard barks at him. Durante stops, the huge beast towering behind him. And with a look of total innocence, asks, "What elephant??"
Yes, right, "What email?"
Keep in mind, this is Trump's "most-trusted senior adviser," the person in charge of Middle East peace talks, and SO much more. And he had a secret meeting set up with Russian operatives -- and his defense, this ace, supposedly world-class negotiator with top level security clearance, says his excuse is "I didn't know what the hell it was about."
Because he was too busy.
Mind you, one would think that being the top senior adviser of the president in charge out many of the most crucial arenas in the world would keep him incredibly, otherworldly, ungodly busy -- far, far, far "busier" than running "three companies." So, we can only hope that he's able to keep completely focused when doing his job, trying to settle Middle East peace and all his other duties, and know "what the hell" they are all about because he goes into meetings and negotiations.
But the lying is childish and head-churning here. He didn't know Russia was involved -- he says. It was in the Subject heading! He didn't bother to scroll down and read what the meeting was about -- he says. He didn't bother to find out by asking anyone what in the world the meeting was about before going in unprepared -- he says. And almost worst of all, because this part is not a lie, is that he doesn't know even now if he'd contact the FBI to tell them about it!!!
No, this is not "Monday morning quarterbacking." This isn't a "three years after the fact and what we know now" kind of thing. Any honest person at the time would have said, "Don't take the meeting. Tell the FBI." This is a meeting with America's longest, most aggressive adversary -- Russia. And even if for some unimaginable reason he didn't know Russia was involved before he went in...he knew it when he walked out. And he not only didn't call the FBI immediately -- he still today, three years later, knowing all the investigations that have occurred, doesn't know if he'd contact the FBI to let them know about it.
Well, if that isn't a "tell," as gamblers call it, giving away his hand, nothing is.
Still, I do love the whineyness of it all all, trying to divert attention from his crimes onto other -- trying to paint people horrified at near-treasonous crimes that attempt to subvert the U.S. government as being "self-righteous." Self-protective is probably a far-better word.
By the way, I'm not sure what the three companies are that he's running, but we do know that for at least one of them he was running it to the verge of bankruptcies, and it's possible that the save it he used his position with Trump to make deals with Saudi Arabia (you know, the country that tortured and killed U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi) and strong-arm Qatr to get big enough loans to avoid total collapse.
"We're in a place now where people are playing Monday morning quarterback & they're being so self-righteous...I'm running 3 companies, I'm helping run the campaign...I didn't know what the hell it was about."
But of all the clips of the interview, perhaps the one most informative about Jared Kushner -- and of Trump, as well -- is the briefest. It starts with a direct question about Trump and birtherism. And not only does Kushner try to avoid answering like a six-year-old child and keep trying, but the reality underneath is that in trying to seem like he's oh-so clever in not answering, he misses the larger point --
He does not defend Trump against an accusation of racism.
I'm sure he thinks he does. I'm sure he sashayed around latter telling everyone proudly how he stood forthrightly and gave a full-throated defense, and that should show them. But it's not full-throated. It's not even a quarter-throated. It's frog-stuck-in-your-throat throated. Because he's so busy struggling how to protect himself and not answer the larger, harder question being asked, he missed the problematic point that not answer is the loudest answer of all.
But no, we can't end there. There's only one way to properly end things. We have to go out on this --
Leave a Reply.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
Feedspot Badge of Honor