If you were going by his remarks in a recent interview with Axios, the answer would have to be no.
Kushner sputtered and spun, looking like a little boy dressed up in his father’s suit, unable to give a definitive or direct answer to nearly every question asked of him. From abortion rights to Israel, Palestinians to the presidential campaign, Kushner served word salad. It was a rare and jarring look inside the mind of a cipher made suddenly and undeservedly powerful. What we saw: A whole lot of nothing.
The urgent takeaway: voters cannot squander the nation’s upcoming opportunity to restore competence, stature and sanity to the White House.
Kushner’s interview would have been comical if this underqualified senior adviser didn’t have the ear of the leader of the free world, and didn’t, absurdly, believe himself the right guy to advise on any number of matters — including taking over the Middle East peace process.
His real qualifications? He married a Trump, and his father-in-law likes him.
Before that, Kushner had achieved little beyond a mediocre academic career, a massive real estate failure via his criminal dad’s company, and the decision to purchase a newspaper — The New York Observer — as a vanity project that he promptly ran into the ground.
Just how ignorant, middling and amoral is Kushner? The Axios interview offers some startling clues. Among them is that he manages to spin his utter incompetence as a good thing.
As a result, America’s reputation worldwide has been sullied, we are facing unprecedented attacks on freedom of the press, election interference from a hostile foreign power has gone largely ignored by the administration, and we may be facing a constitutional crisis. Those are not “great results.” They are disastrous to our living democracy.
Kushner, of course, knows all about this.
Asked specifically about Trump’s promotion of the birther canard about President Obama, Kushner repeatedly refused to answer — concluding with: “Uh, like I said I was not involved in that. That was a long time ago.”
He did the same on the question of whether he supports abortion rights: “I’m here to enforce his (Trump’s) positions. His position is the one that as a staffer in the White House will work to push.”)
There’s an ongoing fiction that those around Trump are keeping this rig afloat, and that even if the President is small-minded and spends his days yelling at the television and tweeting, those around him are ably steering the ship.
The Kushner interview lays bare how false that is. Trump has put sycophants and loyal family members in influential positions over people who actually know what they’re doing. The Trump family are the ones at the wheel.
We can’t lose our ability to be shocked by how low this floor keeps dropping. And the influence of someone who is simultaneously profoundly clueless and ill-equipped for his job, and yet also self-admiring of his “outsider” status, is dangerous. Experience matters. Knowledge matters. Without it, we simply have a government of know-nothings — advising a President desperately in need of better angels whispering in his ear.