Sound Off! Why Jared Kushner Should Resign By Luke Perry
Recent revelations of Jared Kushner’s attempts to establish secret communication with the Russians within their diplomatic facilities illustrates the harm to American government presidential nepotism plays. Whether one likes President Trump and his policies, or not, Americans should agree the elevation of his son-in-law to the position of Senior Adviser (extraordinaire) is not good for American democracy.
President Trump clearly trusts his immediate family more than anyone else. This helps explain why someone as unqualified and inexperienced as Kushner is so deeply entrenched atop the highest levels of the federal government.
Having an “untouchable” family member in this role makes it very difficult to remove him from power should the circumstances merit it. This also increases the potential for the president to ask his family, giving their level of comfort and trust, to engage in potentially unethical and/or illegal behavior.
Trump may have been aware and/or directed Kushner to elude U.S. government in unprecedented fashion in communicating with Russian officials. This would make Kushner an active participant or at least complicit. The inherent pressures associated with potentially having to say "no" to your father-in-law-president in this circumstance, and all others, is not in America's best interest.
Conversely, Trump may not have been aware of Kushner's actions. In that case Kushner would then be asked to resign if he were not the president’s son-in-law. There are no indications thus far that Kushner's job is in danger.
Either way, America is not well served.
Much has been written about Donald Trump’s authoritarian tendencies. Nepotism atop the federal government in this case is less obvious, but no less severe. American democracy is not the dynastic monarchy Trump is accustomed to when running his family business. The tensions and dangers of informally blurring one into the other have become more clear than ever before.
Nothing short of separating Trump's family from his administration will effectively resolve this dilemma.
Luke Perry (@PolSciLukePerry) is Professor of Government at Utica College. His column Sound Off! critiques various aspects of presidential politics.