I thought I would drop you a note again. The first time I wrote it was because, amidst a tsunami of speculation about whether Donald Trump was a racist or an anti-Semite, you stepped into the breach to settle the matter. You issued a statement declaring this to be, how you say, fake news:
The difference between me and the journalists and Twitter throngs who find it so convenient to dismiss my father in law is simple. I know him and they don’t …The fact is that my father in law is an incredibly loving and tolerant person who has embraced my family and our Judaism since I began dating my wife. His support has been unwavering and from the heart. I have personally seen him embrace people of all racial and religious backgrounds, at his companies and in his personal life. This caricature that some want to paint as someone who has “allowed” or encouraged intolerance just doesn’t reflect the Donald Trump I know.
Now at the time, I pointed out that since the rest of America did not have your intimate view of Trump, we could only judge him based on his public actions. They were not encouraging throughout his life right up to the 2016 election.
It’s 2017 now, and hoo boy. There are a lot of things that are very disturbing about the president’s multiple statements about Charlottesville. The Atlantic’s David Graham does a good job of explaining the basic problem:
Trump wants to speak to Americans who disdain Nazis and disavow white supremacists, but who share their sense of cultural displacement, angry resentment at a diversifying nation, and conviction that white Americans are the real victims. Just as he converted birtherism from a fringe, racist belief into a mainstream (though no less racist) movement, Trump is trying to draw a line around a group of people who have beliefs that are substantially similar to those of white nationalists (and in some matters, neo-Nazis) — who are literally willing to march alongside them — and to make them acceptable in polite society because they say they are not neo-Nazis or white nationalists, but simply wish to protect their culture.
This wasn’t a mistake or a misinterpretation. For Pete’s sake, the White House put out talking points on this for fellow Republicans. They couldn’t have been bothered to do that for health care. Your father-in-law clearly believes he said nothing wrong, and the rest of Washington thinks that he did.
But I’m digressing, Jared. Here’s the thing: see if you can detect a pattern in some of the stories that have come out over the past 48 hours:
Associated Press: “Presidential advisers hunkered down, offering no public defense while privately expressing frustration with his comments.”New York Times: “Gary D. Cohn, the director of the president’s National Economic Council, who is Jewish, was described by several people close to him as ‘disgusted’ and ‘deeply upset’ by the president’s remarks. But Mr. Cohn has not publicly expressed those views.”Also the New York Times: “Members of the president’s staff, stunned and disheartened, said they never expected to hear such a voluble articulation of opinions that the president had long expressed in private.”
That last quote is the most damning, Jared, because it completely undercuts your 2016 defense of your father-in-law. As both Jonathan Chait and Greg Sargent noted yesterday, it seems like the only thing that surprised the White House staff was that Trump said these things in public. That these are his actual beliefs is already an accepted fact among the White House staff.
If it is true that Trump’s public comments on Tuesday were simply a reflection of his private thoughts all along, then one of two things must follow:
- You have no comprehension of the values your father-in-law holds dear; or
- You have been lying about Donald Trump’s character all along.
Which one is it? I’m genuinely curious whether you have knowingly lied on behalf of your father-in-law or whether you are actually this shallow of a human being. My money is on the latter, in case you were wondering.
While you and Ivanka are truly world-class in your ability not to comment, I don’t think you can escape this imbroglio, Jared. The muck is starting to seep onto the doorposts of your house and upon your gates.
You are hardly the only Jewish person to work for this White House — but you are the one who stuck his neck out last year and loudly declared that the president was neither a racist nor an anti-Semite. So you have a choice. You can disavow the president’s remarks, like, say, the military service commanders. Or you can try to better articulate your evidence that Trump is not the ignorant racist that he has seemed to be this past week.
You can’t be Switzerland anymore, Jared. If you just look the other way while this goes down, then the rest of us can draw only one conclusion: You, Jared Kushner, are bad for the Jews.