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Snippets of a new interview by President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner hit the web on Sunday night. They are being criticized for their awkward non-responses.
In the interview, conducted by Axios’ Jonathan Swan, the rarely heard-from Kushner was grilled on Trump’s birtherism, Russian election interference, and his astoundingly large portfolio of matters, like solving the Israel-Palestine conflict.
The clip garnering the most attention came when Kushner was asked if Trump’s was racist, to which he said no. But he refused to give a defense of birtherism, the president’s vociferous but made-up claim that President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States.
Kushner said repeatedly that he wasn’t involved in that, and would not say whether he thought it was a racist line of attack against America’s first Black president.
Listen for the amazing “Ummm” he gives before deciding to not answer.
As David Axelrod, former Obama chief strategist, tweeted: “This is really, really awkward. And revealing!”
This is really, really awkward. And revealing! https://t.co/Q5gag3Dyua— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) June 3, 2019
When asked about how he would solve the long-simmering and intractable conflict in the Middle East, Kushner said that he “wasn’t here to be trusted,” by the Palestine people, which isn’t exactly what you want in a lead negotiator.
Jared Kushner on why the Palestinians would accept his Middle East peace plan:— Axios (@axios) June 3, 2019
"I'm not here to be trusted...They're gonna judge it based on the facts and then make a determination. Do they think this will allow them to have a pathway to a better life or not?" @DCTVny @HBODocs pic.twitter.com/TVISoMmDBc
And on his infamous Trump Tower meeting with several Russians who promised dirt on his boss’ then-opponent Hillary Clinton, Kushner said everyone criticizing him was just playing, “Monday morning quarterback.”
After, that is, feigning apparent ignorance, at first asking “Which email are you talking about?” when questioned about being called to a meeting with the president’s son and a bunch of Russians.
Jared Kushner to #AxiosOnHBO on why he took 2016 Trump Tower meeting:— Axios (@axios) June 3, 2019
"We're in a place now where people are playing Monday morning quarterback & they're being so self-righteous...I'm running 3 companies, I'm helping run the campaign...I didn't know what the hell it was about." pic.twitter.com/qy6KXD0f2V
He called the meeting a “clown show” and said if there was something “nefarious” he probably would have flagged it for the authorities.
But really, with all his equivocating and lack of hard answers, the interview was a ringing endorsement for nepotism. Kushner, the son of a wealthy real estate developer, married into a billionaire real estate developer’s family and is now helping to run the country.
Want more evidence that nepotism is a really bad idea? Watch the video below of the son-in-law of @realDonaldTrump.— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) June 3, 2019
Also, why does Jared Kushner still have a security clearance? https://t.co/IgAzaC3CyZ
Reminder: Kushner is not qualified for the job he was *given* by his father-in-law. Furthermore, Trump had to unilaterally override authorization for Kushner's security clearance because his son-in-law's is too shady to get one legitimately. #Nepotism— ʎpuɐ (@Andy_Dont_Tweet) June 3, 2019
In the end, Jared Kushner is a tribalist just like his father-in-law. His family, his coterie matter more than his country or even fairness. #Nepotism— RonMwangaguhung (@RonMwangaguhung) June 2, 2019
However, when asked about claims of nepotism, Kushner said that “I do think I’ve got a good track record in all the things I’ve done.”
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David Covucci is the Layer 8 editor at the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the web. His work has appeared in Vice, the Huffington Post, Jezebel, Gothamist, and other publications. He is particularly interested in hearing any tips you have. Reach out at [email protected]