The revelation that Jared Kushner has been using a private e-mail account to conduct government business isn’t that big a deal, and surely won’t get as much attention as those football players who didn’t stand at attention during the national anthem during the recent games, but we can’t blame our Democratic friends for taking such glee in it. Kushner is President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and most trusted senior advisor on a wide array of issues ranging from the opioid crisis to Middle East peace, after all, and during the past campaign Trump did take considerable glee in the revelation that his vanquished Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton had used a private e-mail account to conduct government business.
Trump’s apologists can rightly note that at least Kushner’s private account wasn’t on a private and appallingly insecure server, as Clinton’s was, but his critics can plausibly accuse Kushner of the same secretive and insidious motives that were plausibly attributed to Clinton, and in both cases it’s clearly it’s against the rules. The Trump apologists can also argue that it’s not like Kushner is so high-ranking an official as a Secretary of State, as Clinton was, but there’s another argument that given his wide-ranging portfolio and most trusted senior advisor status and the currently lowly status of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson he probably is. Clinton’s long career in public service had produced plenty of other scandals that made those purposely hidden e-mails all the more suspicious, to be sure, but in his relatively short career in public life Kushner has already been involved in quite a few of his own.
Kushner was a big-time Democratic donor back in his private sector days as the head of the family’s New York real estate business, and talked all the Democratic talk you hear at the New York City soirees he attended, just as his father and fellow real estate mogul father-in-law had once done, so by now few Republicans trust him and all the Democrats find him a convenient whipping boy. His private sector ventures are still deep in debt and desperately seeking foreign financing for a ill-fated investment in an ominously overpriced property at 666 Fifth Avenue in New York City, since his involvement in his father in law’s campaign and transition team and administration the press have uncovered several meetings with Russians officials hoping for relief from sanctions that prevent them from investing American real estate ventures, all of which he hadn’t previously disclosed on his security clearance forms, and it’s hard for Trump apologists to explain how it doesn’t look very bad.
So far Kushner hasn’t solved the opioid crisis or brought peace to the Middle East or accomplished anything else on his far-ranging to-do list, nor has he exerted the moderating influence on the Trump administration that all those Democratic party-goers were hoping for. There are unavoidable questions about why his security clearance was renewed after all those revisions regarding meetings with Russians, and what qualified him for any of those jobs in the first place, so except for his faithful wife and father-in-law and high priced lawyers he doesn’t seem to have a lot of people rooting for him. Kushner took over the family real estate business when his father went to federal prison for tax evasion and witness intimidation, so we’re sure he’s well aware of the potential legal jeopardy he’s facing, and all our Democratic friends are gleeful about the possible deals he might cut.
Our jaded old Republican souls can easily see it working out very badly for both Kushner and Trump, and no matter how badly it works out for either of them it will be fine with us, but we also hate think that this any vindication for that horrible Clinton woman. There are sound security and openness reasons that require government communications be communicated on government e-mail accounts, and potentially self-interested meetings with foreign agents be forthrightly disclosed on security clearance forms, and the civic norms expecting honesty and disinterested dealings from public officials, and we’ll not abandon them for any lowlife of either party.
And for cryin’ out loud, Kushner, you did this after all those “lock her up” chants about Clinton’s private e-mail account?
— Bud Norman