What does it mean to send two family businesses into the White House? I’m referring to the Trump Organization and the family real estate firm of Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law. And that’s not even to mention Ivanka Trump’s ongoing fashion line, produced by desperately underpaid women and children in “shithole” countries. Let’s just say, as with so much involving this president, that it’s been a unique experience so far. If you’re in the mood to consider what that means in a leisurely fashion, I suggest that you join all those foreign diplomats and lobbyists at the Trump International Hotel just down the street from the White House. Order a glass of Trump-branded champagne, chow down on a $60 steak, finish your night off with a $24 chocolate cigar, and ponder the state of American politics in 2018.
Unpaid senior adviser Kushner, in particular, has been a genuine piece of work. I doubt any significant member of any White House has ever conducted quite so many personal business meetings in the guise of doing the country’s business. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that it’s caused a few glitches along the way. As the Guardian pointed out recently, Kushner has “had to make more than 100 revisions to his security-clearance application [and] his financial filings had to be amended 39 times in four months after he ‘inadvertently omitted’ millions of dollars in assets.” So it goes when you turn the Oval Office and adjacent quarters into your own personal business playpen.
Rumors are now afloat that Kushner, reportedly in the crosshairs of both the Mueller investigation and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, might join the horde of staffers who have, in recent months, been stampeding for the exits. Like any self-respecting media outlet, TomDispatch has to prepare for the inevitable in life — and what’s more inevitable, especially in the Trump era, than death? (I’m referring, of course, to political death.) Knowing just how predictable death is in an otherwise unpredictable world, newspapers regularly prepare obituaries for the well known while they still live. In that spirit, we’ve asked TomDispatch regular Nomi Prins, author of the upcoming book Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World, who has long been following the business dealings of the Trump family empire, to prepare Kushner’s political obituary. And we decided to take one further step: since it’s next to impossible to stay ahead of the roiling mass of people exiting the White House these days, we thought we’d release it just a tad ahead of schedule.