John Oliver: Why Ivanka and Jared Kushner's influence on Donald Trump isn't what you think

John Oliver Ivanka Jared HBO finalYouTube/HBO‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.’

On Sunday, “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” had a 22-minute segment delving into the qualifications of Ivanka Trump, daughter of President Donald Trump, and Jared Kushner, her husband, for working at the White House. 

Oliver points out that for liberals, the popular assumption is that both will be a moderating influence on President Trump. But is that really the case?

The host of the HBO show broke down their roles: Ivanka is an unpaid “assistant to the president,” while Kushner pretty much has his hand in everything, including being responsible for brokering peace in the Middle East and revamping the entire federal government. 

“It is not unusual for powerful men to give their son-in-laws do-nothing jobs, but leave it to Donald Trump, who can’t even get nepotism right, to give his a do-everything job,” Oliver said. 

But is this all just window dressing? Though Ivanka has been a staple in Trump’s businesses and TV shows since she was a teen, her involvement since Trump’s candidacy doesn’t seem to have shifted Trump’s thoughts, Oliver argues.

Ivanka was reportedly the one who got her father to meet with Al Gore at Trump Tower, but three days later, Trump named climate change denier Scott Pruitt as head of the EPA. And issues she’s gotten behind, like family leave and childcare, don’t seem to have influenced Trump. His proposals would give families who have incomes between $US10,000 and $US30,000 average annual benefits of just $US10 a year. 

Though Ivanka is perceived to be the opposite of her father, Oliver found a passage from her 2009 book “The Trump Card” that might make you think otherwise.

In one section she wrote, “Don’t go out of your way to correct a false assumption if it plays to your advantage.”

“She’s pretty much telling you to your face not to trust any assumption you are making about her,” Oliver said. “It is possible she is doing nothing to moderate her father.”

Kushner, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have a glowing business resume. He bought a swanky Manhattan building for a record $US1.8 billion, but 10 years later the building is struggling with debt payments. However, he’s the primary point of contact for two dozen different countries.

Those who know Kushner have praised his listening skills. 

“So hold on, he’s brilliant because he’s quiet?” Oliver asked. “Just because you don’t talk does not necessarily mean you’re thinking something amazing.”

Oliver also touched on the fact that many people have no idea what Kushner’s voice sounds like. So he dug up an old interview with Kushner, but when he played it, the clip actually had comedian Gilbert Gottfried speaking over Kushner with his trademark high-pitched voice. 

“This may seem like an evisceration of Jared and Ivanka, but it’s really not,” Oliver said. “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. Because it is dangerous to think of them as a moderating influence, as reassuring as that may feel.”

Oliver added a warning about Ivanka and Jared for liberals: “If they are the reason you are sleeping at night, you should probably still be awake.”

Watch Oliver’s entire segment on Ivanka and Jared below:


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