When Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner took on a prime role in the administration of President Donald J. Trump, Democrats were hopeful. The couple was known to have socially liberal views, and people expected them to act as a moderating force in an otherwise chaotic and unruly administration. Ivanka was going to focus on paid family leave and Jared on peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Ivanka has had some success with paid family leave to be fair, she was able to convince budget hawk and OMB Director Mick Mulvaney to allot $25 billion over 10 years towards it.
Although we’ll see if that $25 billion is in the final version of the bill when it is actually put into law by Congress. By the way, they haven’t even passed a budget resolution. If the funding is in the final version of the budget I’ll give her credit, but for now, it seems unlikely. Ivanka might want to work with Democrats to take back the Congress in 2018 if she wants paid family leave, I don’t know if Republicans are the people to talk to about such an issue. Maybe Senator Bernie Sanders?
But on many other issues, arguably more important ones, they have failed to make President Trump make the right decision. A prime example is the Paris Climate Accords, which Ivanka and Jared supported and strongly urged the President to stay in. As we all know the President pulled out of the Paris Accords. He wasn’t soft about it either, saying in the Rose Garden “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” which have arguably become the most famous words in the U.S. withdrawal from the accords.
With regard to President Trump’s tweet in which he announced a moratorium on transgender people from serving in the military in any capacity, Ivanka and Jared were equally impotent as they were with the Paris Accords. The action taken by President Trump was completely out of the blue, unexpected by the Joint Chiefs as well as the members of Congress who just wanted to stop funding sex reassignment surgery. Jared and Ivanka were supposed to be socially liberal, and so was President Trump. Many were expecting Ivanka to remind the President of his live-and-let-live principles when it comes to the rights of LGBTQ individuals. But the President tweeted the ban anyway, and I don’t know whether or not Ivanka or Jared tried to stop him from doing so.
Ivanka also seemed to have no influence on health care policy. The President came into office pledging health insurance “for everybody” and wound up being willing to sign just about anything. Although in that way he is just like most GOP Senators.
Ivanka and Jared seem to have an influence on the President on one key aspect: White House staff. They were reportedly pushing for the ouster of Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, the hiring of General John Kelly, and the hiring of former Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci. We can all agree that Priebus was not an excellent Chief of Staff, and many describe him as simply an O.K. political operative, maybe a B or a B+. But what is most interesting about Ivanka’s choice to support the hiring of Kelly is that his being Chief of Staff will limit her access to the President. She is one of many aides and staffers who enjoy what is called “walk-in privileges” where she can just walk into the Oval Office without an appointment or meeting scheduled. In his first meeting with White House staff as Chief of Staff Kelly issued new guidelines that include restricted access to the Oval and Kelly as the gatekeeper.
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