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“I was in a coffee shop a few days after the election and someone I knew from childhood recognized me. She put her hand on my shoulder and said, ‘Tell me everything’s going to be okay.’

A lot of us who study politics have the impulse to give an answer to that person that will make her feel better. So we create a story wherein Steve Bannon is the source of all the irregularities and anomalies in the White House, and if only someone nicer, someone like Jared Kushner, would take over, things would be okay.

They’re not going to be okay.

With Jared Kushner you get a different set of problems than you do with Steve Bannon. Obviously he’s way less ideological. He’s not connected to Breitbart. But he doesn’t know anything. And even more than that, the problems of public integrity that have stalked this White House become worse the more power the Kushner family has.

It was the Kushner family that negotiated this $400 million payout from a Chinese state-influenced bank. Although that deal had to be dropped in the face of pressure from Congress, presumably everyday, people in the Kushner family circle are thinking of similar transactions.

And, look, 35-years-old: [he and Ivanka] are not children. That’s half your life on this planet. And they haven’t bothered to learn anything about the roles they now have.

If Jared Kushner were a truly public-spirited person, what he would do is separate himself much more fully from his business interests, and say to the president, ‘Dad, it’s clear you need an A-team here. And what I’d like to do for you is run a staffing process, whereby instead of giving your China portfolio to me, and giving your Middle East portfolio to me, and giving your Reinventing Government portfolio to me, we’ll bring in people who actually have known about these issues before November of last year. And, while we’re at it, let’s get the State Department staffed, too.’ […]

Anyone who has worked in government knows that administrations run through a deputy system. Deputies prepare information that is then handed over to principles. And, a third of the way into the first year of this presidency: no deputies.

Donald Trump may feel like a winner. I’m sure he’s a much richer man than he was on election day. But the rest of us, I think we’re all losers.”


David Frum, speaking in an interview on Charlie Rose last month.

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