Donald Trump entered the White House with no experience in politics, government, or foreign policy, so it’s even more important to know who’s advising him and what they’re advising him on. That’s why John Oliver devoted his main segment on April 23’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” to the Donald’s daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, who have powerful roles in the administration and have been the subject of much speculation. But really all we can do is speculate about them because their opinions and qualifications are largely a mystery to us. Watch Oliver’s complete segment above.
“For liberals, the popular assumption is that Jared and Ivanka will be moderating influences,” said Oliver. And we’d better hope that’s true since both have a official government positions now and Kushner has been entrusted with everything from peace in the Middle East to the opioid epidemic. Ivanka is “reassuringly familiar,” argues Oliver, but she may not deserve nearly as much credit as she gets for being a positive influence on her father.
“The assumption that many of us have that she disagrees with [her father] isn’t actually based on much,” Oliver explains. He even quotes Ivanka Trump’s own book, in which she more or less outlines the way she is willing to mislead others if it works in her favor: “Perception is more important than reality,” she wrote. “This doesn’t mean you should be duplicitous or deceitful, but don’t go out of your way to correct a false assumption if it plays to your advantage.” That may be what she’s doing with the American people by cultivating a positive public image that contrasts with her father.
As for Kushner, nothing in his real-estate background indicates that he’s qualified to handle any of the tasks he’s currently responsible for, “or I am wrong and future history books will say, ‘And peace was finally brought to the Middle East by a sentient Kohl’s mannequin who read a book once.'” Even his education is suspect since “officials at Jared’s high school were reportedly dismayed he got into Harvard” since he didn’t have the GPA or SAT scores to merit admission — though his dad coincidentally pledged $2.5 million to the university shortly before he was accepted.
Oliver concludes, “I know all of this may seem like an evisceration of both Jared and Ivanka, but it is really not. I don’t know enough about them to eviscerate them, just as you don’t know enough about them to justify putting any real hopes in them … If they are the reason you are sleeping at night, you should probably still be awake.”
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