Jared Kushner Fails Up, Again

Having solved the Middle East, the president’s son-in-law tackles the border wall.

Comments: 237

  1. Optics, Mr. Bruni, optics. Trump didn't need Ukraine to actually investigate the Bidens, just say that they were going to do it. This is more optics - a sop to the base. This wall is so important to Donald J. Trump, God's chosen one, that has appointed the golden boy to take charge of it. One begins to wonder if Jared, too, has a divine appointment or at least wonderous gifts. Who, after all, can both fix the Israel/Palestinian mess AND build a big beautiful wall - and all in less than a year?

  2. Yep. The point is to look busy; actually doing anything takes work, and subtracts time from golfing.

  3. @Anne-Marie Hislop What's sad Anne-Marie is that we have reached a point where optics is all that matters. And, unfortunately, some of this can be attributed to the television news media. The way CNN and MSNBC makes these characters a 24/7 subject is beyond comprehension. It's like rewarding kids for really bad behavior.

  4. @Anne-Marie Hislop Well, Nikki Haley does call him the very stable genius. JHC.

  5. I can only speak for myself but if I were on the world’s stage, making a fool of myself in plain sight, the joke on me as I laugh with everyone else—who are laughing at me—I might, if I had any self-respect (please stop laughing) want to think about looking for a back door out of this world. I mean, how much is a life worth when almost everyone disrespects you and discounts your puny, ineffective efforts? This is a joke. Right?

  6. @Red Sox, ‘04, ‘07, ‘13, ‘18 Does Jared seem like a guy with a sense of humor?

  7. @Red Sox, ‘04, ‘07, ‘13, ‘18 Does Jared seem like a guy with a sense of awareness? Like the contestants in Monty Python's "Upper Class Twit of the Year" match, Jared can stand among a group of people whose only connection is their loathing for him, and think he is among great friends.

  8. @Red Sox, ‘04, ‘07, ‘13, ‘18 No, because as the great philosopher Cyndi Lauper opined, "money changes everything"!

  9. In an administration full of "useful idiots" helpfully dismantling our democracy, Jared is a standout, a true useless idiot not competent enough to be used to any great effect. I doubt even Putin bothers. Depressing to realize that is the best we can hope for in this administration. Still, the heartening thought of Trump's enablers and sycophants forced to sit through meetings led by the emptiest of empty suits, may not be much, but it is something.

  10. @LT "useful idiots" ... isn't that paradoxical impossibility? Idiots they indeed are. Useful? I seriously doubt.

  11. @Gillian - Putin has found them very useful.

  12. Jared should be a new adjective for the poster child of foolish nepotism .

  13. @robert conger No, a noun.

  14. I can only laugh thinking of Jared stuck out in the desert with construction workers.

  15. @Jane "Ten men rode out, but only nine rode back."

  16. @Jane Oh, I don't think he will go that far. Meetings. It is all about the meetings. That is all that is required to accomplish things. Didn't you know?

  17. @Jane Construction workers, especially in the south, are among Trump’s biggest supporters. Jared may be a smooth-cheeked dandy, but he’s Trump’s boy, and I think there would be more selfies and back-slapping than behind-the-hand laughing.

  18. Quit complaining, (Costal) America! Elections have consequences. You are getting exactly what you ordered...

  19. @Beyond Repair ....As I recall the last election was in 2018 and it put the Democrats in charge of the House. Elections have consequences.

  20. @Beyond Repair An observation is not a complaint. I think one should look up what the word complaining really means. The Trump observations are like being in the Adams Family and one cant find the exit, that is not complaining that is a observation. Elections do have consequences and everyone learns something from a miscalculation . The electoral College ordered the Trump steak not the majority of the American people. However this cheap well done Trump steak is being turned in for a democratic model Salmon, you know brain food.

  21. @Beyond Repair ...Two - or was it three? - million more Americans ordered up Clinton than ordered up this lying bully and his family. Tell the Electoral College to quit complaining, but don't tell us.

  22. Historians will have a field day with Trump and his merry band on incompetents I suspect they will also write on the insanity the put this clown and his Circus of Deplorables in our White House.

  23. @GUANNA History is written by the winners. Unfortunately, who that will be remains to be seen.

  24. @Sandy Actually, history is written by the writers. -- thegamesmenplay.com

  25. I was wondering what happened to this Boy Wonder called Jared. His resume along with his portfolio indeed has been thinning. For one, it seems as if he and the Kushner clan's ventures into the world of high finance are, shall we say, rather suspect and probably illegal. His biggest failure to date has been his attempt for some kind of a diplomatic solution between the Israelis and Palestinians. Of course, we knew all along that would come to naught. After all, Trump is/was Netanyahu's puppet with I'm sure some back door "quid pro quo." That turned out just peachy. Netanyahu may just be heading for jail, and the Palestinians are seeing more of their rights - and land - diminishing by the day. But, ah, The Wall. Now there is the place for Mr. Kushner. This prince, son-in-law of the king and married to the princess, will live his fairy-tale yet. There will be the castle of Trumpland (aka America) with its own concrete moat. But methinks they will not live happily-ever-after. Or is that hope...

  26. I still nominate Jared as one of the 4 people most likely to throw Pinocchio the President under the bus. The others...in no particular order: Rudy G Mike Pence ????

  27. @adara614 Ivanka. She's as cold as they come. How can you post those photos with your kids while others are at the wall, separated from their families? This is NOT tsdakah! (Charitable philosophy, seven levels, supposed to be part of every action for religious Jews, at least that's what we were taught in Yeshivah when I was a kid.)

  28. Mr Trump has managed to raise taxes by hiding them in tariff penalties paid by American consumers. Now, Mr Trump is funneling off more public money by having Mr Kushner arrange wall construction cost and its related support infrastructure. That wall isn't designed to stop kick backs. He'll likely require that workers wear outfits bought from Ivanka. Pretty, matching ensembles, made in China and only marked up who knows by how much. All paid for by American consumers.

  29. @Bill And there one of the many many problems. We have been taught to see ourselves as "consumers" & "taxpayers". (Yes. Here in Canada too). There was once a time when we were referred to as "citizens" and identified ourselves as such.

  30. Not to be a killjoy but I’m sure I read in the NYT a few weeks ago that parts of the wall, sturdy and black, are being built on an accelerated schedule, with funds diverted from other departmental budgets. And let’s face it, the Trumps are good at building fast and on budget. I’m not impressed but I suspect many would be voters might be swayed.

  31. @GC Let’s face it, it’s easy to stay “ on budget” if you refuse to pay your workers.

  32. @GC " are good at building fast and on budget. " And your evidence of this is?

  33. @GC I missed that wall story but with Jared in charge we can all rest easy. He with loud mouth Jr. will knock on the doors of people who own the land with his briefcase and state in his whisper of a voice that they were there to take there land and pay them one dollar. Just like a Clint Eastwood movie. Then he can go back and retool his Middle East, prison project . Ah to be a stable genius just like his father in law. the wall will be waiting for his brilliance.

  34. Wickedly right on.

  35. Whenever Ivanka weasels her way into another headline, my mind flashes back to the video showing her desperately trying to speak to a group at actual leaders at the G20 and being shut out. Of course that didn’t deter her from babbling nonsensically. How she can carry on impersonating a ... well, I really don’t know what she thinks she is. The lack of self-awareness must be hereditary .

  36. @Maggie "What?"

  37. @Maggie I don't want to defend Ivanka. IMO, she should not be anywhere near the West Wing. Go back to Manhattan and take her husband with her. But that video that we all saw, with her trying to converse with world leaders (or in one case, a former world leader), was at an event/speech that was headlined by Ivanka. Stupid, yes, that Ivanka was able to headline anything and that all of those world leaders or anyone else attended. But, that's why they were all there --- they accepted the invitation to attend.

  38. @Maggie - Did she get her hair cut before or after that appalling embarrassment?

  39. Jared and Ivanka? You mean they're not in Belize?

  40. As I recall, right after Jared brought peace to the Middle East, he was going to jump right in and solve the opioid crisis. Or was he going to do that simultaneously? Whatever. At least we can now confidently predict that no new border walls will be built within the next year.

  41. Yes Jared's success in driving peace in the Middle East is a stunning success. We should only hope he will be as successful with "talking" to people about the wall. s/

  42. I really enjoyed this piece. Perfect combination of truth (facts) and creative and sarcastic levity. So, now, Trump doesn't want to read his briefings about The Wall (if he ever did), or ask his Chief of Staff or anyone at Homeland Security, including ICE, or any other federal agency, about The Wall, and he gives The Wall to Jared as part of Jared's portfolio. So, now Jared makes phone calls and has meetings? That's pretty much all he has ever done, right? Other than being BFFs with his peer group of oligarchs and scions of monarchies. With what results......on any issue? And, NO, he did not play any major part in passing criminal justice reform. Good luck, Jared. So far, you've accomplished nothing, which is about what most people expected based on your lack of experience and relevant qualifications. Let's see how well you do with this new assignment.

  43. @Alexandra Brockton Now don't be too harsh on poor Jared. He did achieve something! He got his family's underwater mortgage on 666 Fifth Avenue refinanced with Middle East blood money. All it cost was a little bit of American credibility, but hey, got to do what you got to do. That is what this clan came to town to do: to grift and loot and steal, And all in plain sight.

  44. He was successful in getting a foreign government (Saudis?) to bail him out on 666.

  45. @Will. It also cost Kashoggi all his body parts.

  46. Kushner must have some kompromat on Trump to get important jobs where he doesn't have to do anything.

  47. @Linda - Kushner should ask his wife about the kompromat involving daddy.

  48. Every word deliciously placed on the table of truth.

  49. @Trixey Joned Perfect comment. Thank you.

  50. If Kushner and Trump complete the Mexican wall, throw both of them over it so they can solve Mexico's problems.

  51. @John Reynolds That's really funny. Thank you for that laugh.

  52. @John Reynolds I laughed, too. Brilliant idea. It may be worth decimating sensitive environments with bricks and mortar just to get rid of them.

  53. Jared Kushner is as successful as his father, Charles, was. Charles was convicted in 2005 of illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion, and witness tampering. He served 14 months in prison and 10 months in a half way house. Charles is currently back running the family slumlord business. Jared is just another gift from the Trump Enterprises.

  54. @Joe Miksis Oh and don't forget that Jared's biggest accomplishment when running the family business was grossly overpaying for a NYC skyscraper that has cost them millions and millions. Just who you want making government decisions.

  55. @JohnFred Who could forget 666 5th Avenue? The Grand Havana Room of the Kushner property was the site of a August 2, 2016 meeting between Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, and Russian-Ukrainian Konstantin Kilimnik. The meeting drew the attention of the Mueller investigation due to Manafort giving Kilimnik polling data at the meeting and asking Kilimnik to pass the data to pro-Russian Ukrainians Serhiy Lyovochkin and Rinat Akhmetov.

  56. @Joe Miksis And don't forget that Charles hired a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law (who was cooperating with federal investigators), then taped the encounter and had the tape sent to his sister. What a "lovely" family they are (not)....

  57. Thank you, thank you for the perfect essay/description of Barbie and Ken. I was wondering where they were off to, I don't think they ski, and goodness what could they be up to now? So glad to hear the hair apparent is taking on the pesky wall, although I doubt our Jared will get his feet wet.

  58. Well, with the Amazing Mr. Kushler in charge, the wall will undoubtedly go up in...a New York Minute. I wonder, though, how wimpy Jared will manage to coerce conservative Texas landowners to part with their property for Trump’s folly. W. L. Valenti

  59. Call me cynical, but the only reason Kushner has been given this responsibility is to see that the Trump family and their business associates benefit financially. Whether the promise of its construction or its actual construction, he will somehow figure out how to enrich our President and others. Trump got the best business deal of his life in being elected.

  60. The only wall Kushner should have anything to do with has bars on it, and he should be behind it. Cozying up to the murderous Saudi's, now abetting that cruel, foolish wall...yup, a true humanitarian. I look forward to the day he's escorted off taxpayer property.

  61. @Cheryl My fervent hope is that Trump, Kushner and Don Jr. share a prison cell.

  62. There has never been such an inept, such a corrupt, such an absolutely incompetent administration, headed by a criminal gaslighting liar. Every time I read about him and his family of grifting phonies, I simply cannot comprehend how 60 million people voted for these these awful, no simply terrible, fraudulent people.

  63. @raven55 Well said.

  64. Actually, @raven55, it has happened many times before, just not in the US of A. Sorry to say that your country is looking a lot like what used to be called a banana republic. But - it's the best, the biggest, the smartest banana republic!

  65. @D. Epp . I think we can immediately rule out smartest. Oh and best and biggest also.

  66. Where did Frank Bruni get the idea that Jared and Ivanka were going to " contain the president’s ego, blunt his cruelty, whisper sweet moderation in his ear? " They never offered any such thing. Many in the press, however, repeated this hopeful hallucination in the early days of trumpian misadministration. On this topic, many respected media members abandoned the facts of who J & I are for the straw-grasp that they would moderate the beast. It is but sad consolation that Bruni is joined-in-error by many otherwise shining names in the new media.

  67. Jared Kushner failed? That's an improvement. Usually he just stands there looking cute. Ivanka chose her husband well. He can't eclipse anyone at anything. It would be far better for the country if Jared, Ivanka, the two Donalds, and the rest of the family walked off into the sunset now.

  68. @hen3ry "Cute" is definately in the eye of the beholder.

  69. @Lisa Merullo-Boaz I agree but I was quoting something from a Tom Lehrer song.

  70. “The public will never be made to believe that an appointment of a relative is made on the ground of merit alone, uninfluenced by family views.” – Thomas Jefferson

  71. this is actually very good news -- assuming that jared is as effective getting the wall built as he has been in getting a peace settlement in the middle east.

  72. All these Republicans complaining about Hunter Biden serving on the board of Burisma, when we have Jared and Ivanka sitting in the West Wing, doing what, exactly?

  73. @LFP Yes, and people see it, and get angry or make jokes about it, but what we really need is a flat out anti-nepotism law, passed by the House and the Senate, and veto proof, and also eliminate the power of any president to override all investigations and clearance processes to give any level of security clearance to anyone who the FBI or any other intel agency says should not have them.

  74. @LFP Well Ivanka's got herself some trademarks.. including Chinese trademarks for voting machines.. Jared's sister got caught trying to sell access and green cards along with one of the family's condo buildings.. and Jared's daddy did time in the federal pen.

  75. @LFP Yes, and looking in this photo (by design) like Jackie O and JFK). Sickening. Together they have the integrity of my big toe.

  76. Word on the street is that Jared is engaged in intensive, secret negotiations with the Brother/Sisterhood of Florida Alligators. Apparently parallel discussions with the Union of Poisonous and Dangerous Snakes are at an impasse because the snakes want top billing over the alligators, who are unwilling to compromise. A spokessnake, however, says the real issue is that Jared won't provide guarantees that the snakes will be paid. The Trump Organization's reputation has preceded it.

  77. @Gary Skip the alligators and snakes. Put Jared, Ivanka, Djr, and Eric in the most. Far more lethal

  78. Jared is well on his way to building a wall between the US and the rest of the world. His solution for ME peace is just another of his shady real estate deals; buy Palestinian legal land rights for the building a the Greater Israel. The absurd attempt to buy Palestinian legal and human rights, if/when fully exposed, would/will turn the rest of the world against the US-Israel-Saudi alliance. Fortunately his partner Netanyahu will be in prison, and Jared Kushner's "deal of the century" will be shelved for eternity.

  79. Lovely column, Frank. And while you're unlikely to nominate your own writing "For the Love of Sentences," let this reader suggest the final sentence of today's graf two and the entirety of graf three surely deserve notice. Keep it up.

  80. @Chris Ogden "Pallid princeling" is lovely also!

  81. Shades of that old soap opera: "Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives." How utterly appropriate for the Jarvanka!

  82. Little Jared won't last long on the border since his hair will blow, it's hot down there, he has nothing in common with the construction workers, he doesn't speak Spanish and as with everything else he has tried to do, he is way out of his league and gets nothing accomplished like his wife Ivanka. Two spoiled little rich kids pretending to actually work for the American people, what a laugh.

  83. @Jacquie: Exactly right, and really...who wants to see live streaming of Jared's putting on sun screen?

  84. #Jaquie, But Jared does have that snazzy little flak jacket he wore over his blue bottom down shirt and khakis when he went to inspect the troops.And it has his name on it lest anyone forget who he is. It might come in handy in his new job helping build the wall. One never knows what dangers are lurking out there.

  85. @It’s About Time I am laughing out loud remembering that flak jacket, thanks for making my evening!

  86. Re: the wall? He.Went.to.Jared.

  87. @Al thank you. We howled

  88. Failing up is the perfect description for this dude who is so filled with hubris, it’s hard to imagine he can live inside his head. Oh, and Nikki Haley calls him the “hidden genius”. I can’t wait till we are rid of Jarvanka. I oh so hope they are indicted.

  89. @Theresa N "The pallid princeling," phrase alone justifies paying for the NYT and Frank Bruni!

  90. @Teresa N I do more than hope that Jared and Ivanka are indicted. I confess that I take great pleasure in imagining Ivanka’s discovery that prison doesn’t offer mani/pedis and professional hair colorists or stylists. Since she’s such a successful entrepreneur I’m sure she will want to empower other incarcerated women with stylish prison fashions and fabulous footwear that she will “design” herself. After all, she just wants to better people’s lives. Yeah, right.

  91. @Me : From what I've read, Martha Stewart (a scapegoat) got along great with her sister inmates. She didn't let them push her around and once accepted did all kinds of 'classes' with them and earned their respect and friendship. I really doubt that would happen with Ivanka and her Instagram account.

  92. Jared and Ivanka are laughing all the way to the bank. They fundamentally do not care. At all. Just keep Daddy fooled while they cash in.

  93. @mom of 4 Daddy isn't fooled, he's complicit.

  94. Where do I start. Oh here; the word that applies to any and all of Drumpf's cronies, crooks and criminals (you know who they are). Hubris: excessive pride or self-confidence. Yep, that's it all right. God, I can't wait to see all of them broomed out of the White House. 11/3/2020 can't come fast enough.

  95. @Julie Renalds . I wish I shared your optimistic outlook.

  96. 14 million jobs !?!?! That's a joke. Let's see where and what these so-called jobs are. Methinks they may well be some extremely low paying work in third world countries, taking advantage of the desperation of these workers - if they even actually exist ! And, far from benefitting any American workers.

  97. This will be funny once they are gone. Until then it’s deadly serious and frightening.

  98. @Bill M. Wish I could double and triple Recommend your comment.

  99. @Bill M. Sorry, I don't think it will ever be funny.

  100. @Bill M. Do you think McCartyism is funny now? Trump's cancerous influence in the country is tragic now, and will forever remain a dark period in American history. Bernie Madoff's fraud and financial butchery of countless people have never become funny, either. Trump's imbecilic criminality, or his brutality to children at the border will never make amusing material for late-night comedians. oz.

  101. 14 million jobs !?!?! That's a joke. Let's see where and what these so-called jobs are. Methinks they may well be some extremely low paying work in third world countries, taking advantage of the desperation of these workers - if the jobs even exist ! And, far from benefitting any American workers.

  102. Is Kushner Zuckerberg's twin, separated at birth? They both have that affect of droids, disturbed by importunate questioning by mortals.

  103. @Patrick Nailed it!

  104. Another irresistibly illuminating piece by Mr. Bruni, this time about those surely among the most irritating and irresponsible members of the incestuous insiders inhabiting Trumpville. We give thanks to you, Mr. Bruni, for reminding us about the empty yet poisonous stuffing inside every Trump family turkey.

  105. Jared Kushner, Baltimore's most famous slumlord, rides again.

  106. Trump, Kushner, and Netanyahu all love to build walls. OK by me if the US and Israel want to isolate themselves from the rest of the world. Just build the walls on your own land and at your own expense.

  107. Jared is family the felon whisperer.

  108. Want a mascot? How about the Dementors from Harry Potter? When they show up, there is a chill in the air, and all happiness is gone. Or choice 2 is a skunk, and we all know what happens when one tries to tangle with one of them. I do like the skunk, however, because DJT and his supporters see the world in black and white, rather than the gray that the Dementors cast. Mixing way too many metaphors. Sorry.

  109. I’m all for a wall if it will keep the entire Trump mob family on the other side of it.

  110. @Queenie That is called a prison and I am with you.. Actually would happily crowdfund a spaceship to Pluto and beyond.

  111. We're in a monarchy and the worse prince of failed king is showing his power over populations just by being part of swampy family tree. Why are you even wasting space for these people?

  112. This is meat for a later opera all about the family and their coup overthrowing democracy. Rue Paul as Ms. M.

  113. Is there a law against nepotism in our government? I am referring to hiring relatives because they are relatives despite lack of qualifications, not hiring well qualified relatives.

  114. Frank, no failure Middle East. Israel got exactly what Trump promised. Kushner delivered.

  115. @Jim Israel apparently wanted Netanyahu indicted and maybe Jared and Trump as well.

  116. Jared had failed at everything he has tried in life. He got into Harvard only because his daddy bribed the admissions committee with a donation on which he later reneged. He barely made it through school. He almost bankrupted his family with a disastrous real estate deal that he had to use US policy in an underhanded way with foreign powers to get out of. He thought he married money. He has failed to achieve Middle East peace, he has failed to achieve any success in any part of his government portfolio (except criminal justice reform, something near and dear to his heart given his felon father)

  117. By all measure Jared kushner is, as we used to describe certain individuals in the 80's and 90's, an "empty suit". He is just another real estate predator. Why do we as citizens continue to believe in insurance salesman, used car dealers, and real estate agents, advertisers and all the other hucksters of the world including the biggest one of all, Donald Trump?

  118. The best part about dreaming of Trump's eventual exit is that Jared and Ivanka will be gone too.

  119. To me Jared is more like Macaulay Culkin in Ritchie Rich. Other than destroying the Kurds and inviting Turkey/Russia to invade Syria, giving MBS a pass on the murder of Khashoggi, sending a thousand troops to secure the safety of MBS and the Saudi royals and watching the Palestinian Israeli talks completely collapse what else has he accomplished. My guess is securing financial deals for dear old daddy-in-law. And what about Ivanka, busy helping the American workforce by cutting deals with the Chinese. This whole family is so self serving and disgusting they make the "Cody's" on Animal Kingdom look like Sheriff And Taylor, Opie and Aunt Bee. As for a mascot take your pick, Lindsey Graham that now does everything but pant for trump and lick his fingers or Devin Nunes who kisses his ring.

  120. Ivanka and Jared are runway models, end of.

  121. Trump has spoken very favorably about his daughter in the past. How "hot" she is, how he would love to date her, etc. Every assignment he gives his son in law seems designed to keep him as far from DC as possible. Perhaps these two things are related.

  122. Easy guys. Jared deserves some credit for his effort to seem professional. Notice both hands aren't empty. He could have messed up there. But he didn't.

  123. Best casting of a fatuous couple and a wall since Bottom and Flute were forced to play Pyramus and Thisbe in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

  124. All hat, no cattle.

  125. After Jared takes care of the wall his next job should be to drain the swamp. Don’t hold your breath.

  126. Trump, Jared and Ivanka....a trifecta of entitle twits

  127. Who elected vacant-faced Jared? Unbelievable.

  128. Ouch!!! Truth, but ouch!!!

  129. This would be "hella" funny, as we'd say in my neck of the woods, if it weren't our country circling the proverbial drain.

  130. Neither Ivanka Trump nor Jared Kushner are real people. I don't mean they aren't human, just that everything about them is fake. Their lack of accomplishment is part and parcel with the Trump administration's lack of accomplishment. The only things that Mitch McConnell has allowed the administration to do is cut taxes for the wealthy and appoint business friendly conservative judges throughout the Federal courts. Despite the failure to deliver on any of his promises, the absence of any coherent domestic or foreign policy, and despite the overwhelming evidence of corruption throughout the administration and Trump's own abuses and obstructions, the Republican base still supports him. And he is an awful person!

  131. @MEM They have learned from the best con man around. They seem to have similar personality disorders.

  132. I would love for someone to ask Jared what he actually does all day in the West Wing. Now Hope Hicks? She worked in the West Wing. You could tell by the end of her tenure that all the makeup and blowout hair in the world couldn't hide her tired, sad, burned-out eyes. But Jared and Ivanka? After three years and counting the West Wing seems like a fountain of youth for them. The less they do, the younger they look.

  133. @Ivy Since January 2017, I've been trying to get somebody to explain to me what they do all day long.

  134. @Ivy It's the paintings in the closet that look like characters from a Gahan Wilson cartoon. And, RIP, Gahan - wish you could have stuck around to document the takeover of the White House by cartoon characters. Hideous, scary and unbelievable at the same time, I know he could have worked wonders with that material if he had set his hand to it.

  135. Yes, the only consolation in this nepotism is the incompetence with which it is executed. As far as I can tell though, both of them have been so incompetent that they haven't been able to do as much actual damage as the rest of the minions who have wandered through the corridors of power.

  136. Ivanka never forgets the sand. The pallid princeling. Two classics right there! Thank you Mr. Bruni for the chuckle.

  137. Yay, Jared! What great success you've had in negotiating the deal of the century between Israel and the Palestinians...not! And now another monumental task to stoke the ego of your master...are we tired of winning yet? The Bard says it best: "To say nothing, to do nothing, to know nothing, is a great part of your title, which is within a very little of nothing." - Clown, (ah, how fitting) from All's Well That Ends Well

  138. I believe Jarad personally tracked down al-Baghdadi, single handedly killed him, and took his picture with the corpse. Or at least that is the story that I hear is developing around the legend that is Jared. Kind of like a real world version of the Zohan.

  139. And to think how Trump whines that the Bidens were an example of nepotism, and lies that he was worried about corruption in Ukraine. What, other than nepotism and corruption, could explain how someone like Jared Kushner is a Senior Advisor to the President?

  140. They and the republicans are sad excuses for public servants.

  141. This piece just makes the GOP look that much worse in not only providing cover for their criminal president but for supporting his entire inept family. You would think these “experienced” politicians would know better and do better but they’ve shown their true colors time and time again. What a disgrace.

  142. Trump’s campaign for re-election will focus on a record Dow Jones and historically low unemployment.In Trump’s world nothing else matters. His campaign for office exposed his crude vulgarity. His inability to speak the truth. And his disrespect for women and minorities. His base remains fiercely loyal and view the impeachment proceedings as simply a Democratic tactic to subvert the electoral process.Hopefully some of Trump’s voters will recognize his obvious unfitness for office and will join the campaign to cleanse the White House.There is more to life than the Dow Jones.

  143. @Milton Lewis The Dow Jones is setting record highs. A lot of things could go wrong between now and next November -- breakdown of China trade talks, more climate disasters, an international crisis in the Mideast or elsewhere, failure of another big U.S. company, another real estate crash. I'm not wishing for bad luck, but I'm looking at which stocks to sell while the gettin's good -- not to buy.

  144. @Milton Lewis If Trump's supporters had a decent alternative, they'd take it. The far left takeover of the Dem party is far scarier to many Americans than having the world's #1 delusional egomaniac as president. Everything's relative.

  145. @Tall Tree No, it is not relative, or remotely equivalent. tRump is giving away our nations security all over the world for in a desperate attempt to buy 4 more years of freedom, And cashing in on the office in every way possible. Just this year, the Secret Service has already spent 250k of our money on lodging and golf cart rental, at tRump's golf resorts. Or how about Pence using Airforce2 to taxi him around Ireland, so he could stay at a tRump resort?

  146. where is Max Robespierre when we need him

  147. @MoneyRules I think we have Robespierre in AG Barr or perhaps he is Fouquier-Tinville.

  148. So many delicious turns of phrase. "the crossroads of self-infatuation and delusion" is my favorite if I can only have one.

  149. @bill This was my favorite line too! I even wrote it down so I could read it again in the morning. This Trump family was clearly not put here by God. If some supernatural power has to be held accountable for dumping this egregious immoral dangerous clan into the bowels of the White House, I think a lot of us can guess who that would be. Let's "pray" that the next occupant of the WH has a good kind heart and a working brain.

  150. Kushner’s father paid $2 million to get him into Harvard. Totally unqualified, for almost anything, Kushner is someone whose upward path has been paved with daddy’s money and marital/political connections. No security clearance. Obviously, one of the “best people.” What’s next? Don Jr. or Eric conducting nuclear arms talks- a definite possibility.

  151. A "gilded umbrella of hallucinatory virtue." I want one of those!!!

  152. Anyone ever wonder why the Gownus Super Fund Cleanup project in Brooklyn is one of the very few in the country that continues to be funded? Could it have anything to do with Jared's family real estate holdings? Don't bother asking the EPA. They're not talking.

  153. Mr. "I alone can fix it" is reducing his team rapidly, whether because they refuse obeisance to trump or fear getting enmeshed in his corruption. What's left is a dwindling handful of toadies. And jared and ivanka, both of whom appear for opportunistic photo-ops and then go on vacation or some 'mission' on the taxpayer's dime seemingly designed to make contacts for their future than anything else. I expect to hear not another word about jared's trump wall effort; the credit has already been bestowed and victory will be claimed at every campaign stop. See? trump always said it would be easy.

  154. I am SO SICK of the RIDICULOUS Javanka. Nepotism poster couple - two fake diplomats with ZERO qualifications, experience,or relevant education flying around the globe on tax dime doing fashion shots for their Instagram followers and embarasing the United Staes. We used to value excellence and expertise. 2020 please get here.

  155. @r mackinnon With all the complaints about Hunter Biden not qualified to be on the Board of a gas company, you would think the qualifications of Javanka would be equally questioned. At least Hunter Biden has a law degree from Yale with an undergraduate degree from Georgetown and several decades of business experience. Both Jared and Ivanka had only one asset in their backgrounds when they went into business in their 20's: Their Daddy's money.

  156. @r mackinnon Even Paris Hilton was less venal than these two. She didn't pretend to be anything she wasn't. Let's hope that you are correct about 2020. Because I can't take much more of this.

  157. @Martha MacC Why can't we lump Hunter in with Javanka? Hunter Biden smelled the same dirty money as everyone else involved in the Ukraine. Citing someone's academic pedigree is not a shorthand for character or ability. Look at Mike Pompeo for example - a sterling resume but a thoroughly spineless quisling.The sooner we rid ourselves of this Ivy League cultism, the better we'll be as a country.

  158. Kushner reminds me of the kid on the team who has no talent whatsoever and really doesn’t belong there but who gets to start every game and play the entire game because daddy is the coach. And the kid thinks he’s a superstar. 11/3/20. Please. VOTE.

  159. @Guitar M - When I hear Jared Kushner speak, I feel compelled to reach into my wallet, take out a five-dollar bill, and buy a box of Girl Scout cookies.

  160. @tom harrison I didn't know he could speak.....have never heard him speak!! Guess I'm not missing much....

  161. Ivanka and Jared could easily be fictional characters in any Tom Wolfe satirical piece. Oh that he were still here to write it.

  162. Totally spot on! The Trumps and Kushners have always reminded me of the results of a mashup between The Bonfire of the Vanities and American Psycho.

  163. Thanks for you wry wit Frank! I enjoyed this piece. I heard somewhere that Ivanka and Jared earned more than $80 million dollars last year...just how is that possible? If this was a democratic administration, I can only begin to imagine the outrage! I guess republicans only care about ethics and unlawful activity when they aren’t the party in power, then it seems to be of “supreme” importance!

  164. The only wall being built is replacement for existing lengths, which is passed off as "new" for the benefit of Fox cameras and viewers. Even were President Obrador to have a sudden rush of blood to the head and offer to pay, genuinely new wall won't get built because land purchase and seizure issues will be tied up in the courts for years. Once we have a truth-telling administration again, the failure of trump's wall will be exposed, and trump will need someone to blame; that "someone" could well be Jared. My theory is that trump is setting the stage to disinherit his son-in-law, now that don junior appears to have come back into daddy's good graces. 20:45 EST, 11/26

  165. The Middle East peace punchline is so very overdone. The best chance for peace in the Middle East ended when Yasser Arafat walked away from the Wye River Accords rather than sign on. And until any of the newspapers really explains how and why that could have happened, who cares about your cheap shots? Real people are dying everyday, and a whole other group of people get blamed for it time and again. Haha haha ha.

  166. Robert Malley explained that in NYRB many years ago.

  167. You get what you paid for their services.

  168. Perhaps Frankie can tell us what those seasoned diplomats Clinton and Kerry accomplished.

  169. @Jackson Do you have all day ?

  170. @Jackson Oh come on, Jackie, no need to be rude.

  171. @Jackson The Iran Nuclear deal was a stellar example. It successfully froze Iran’s nuclear program and empowered moderates within Iran itself and the Iranian regime. Now, because Trump cancelled the agreement, Iran has violated numerous sanctions and is well on its way to developing its first nuclear weapon, and, the sanctions are crippling moderates within the state, driving support to Hassan Rouhani.

  172. To underscore the absurdity of the idea of a continuous impassable wall from San Diego to Brownsville, I question Mr. Bruni's statement that the border is "nearly 2,000 miles". The border between Texas and Mexico is a serpentine river and the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Go onto Google Maps and draw a straight(ish) line from El Paso to Brownsville and see how much American land, not to mention the Rio Grande itself, would be isolated in a no-man's land south of the barrier, inaccessible to Americans. But if the wall hugged the river to avoid trapping riverfront land south of it, it would be THOUSANDS of miles long (think fractals!), and the river itself would still be cut off for use by Americans. Plus, there would staggering costs to transport construction materials across roadless deserts to get to the most isolated parts of the river, including in Big Bend National Park. Also, when considering that straight(ish) line from El Paso to Brownsville, how much private land owned by tax-paying Texans would have to be seized through eminent domain to build the wall along that line? (Answer: a lot.) How would American citizens who own valuable river-front real estate trapped south of the wall access their private property? Will there be gates in the wall for each of these land owners and the owner be given his or her own key? It is impossible for a person in possession of an ounce of rationality to think that this idea of a wall is a good one.

  173. @David Wow, a political column that gives us a chance to discuss mathematics! How cool is that? Benoit Mandelbrot's paper about fractals is titled "How Long is the Coast of Britain?" But the main point here is that Jared Kushner is neither honest nor intelligent.

  174. @David Sorry, I don’t know anything about fractals, and I hadn’t stopped to consider the direct vs curvilinear route, but I knew it was a bad idea from the start.

  175. @David Hmmm... the federal government seizing property owned by Texas ranchers? This will no doubt contribute to Texas turning blue from red. This story of rancher protests played out in the Texas panhandle region when it was suggested the pipeline carrying tar sands from Canada to the proposed refinery at the Gulf Coast was going to cross into family-owned ranches, through eminant domain, with the potential environmental, and economic, disaster bearing down on those ranching families.

  176. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Jared's father is a convicted felon who set his brother up with a prostitute and filmed it. Ivanka is a plastic wind-up doll, fabricated, body and soul from her father's most lurid fantasies - nothing several decades of intensive therapy couldn't help. Theirs is a marriage of convenience, the same as when two mob families unite in marriage, and tellingly, the only other people they choose to deal with are mobsters, the world over, who happen to be heads of state. I'm sure they are looking for the day when this is all over and they can insinuate themselves back into New York society, and you know what?, given that the only qualification is money (see Jeffrey Epstein), I'm sure they'll be welcomed with open arms. Met Gala here we come!

  177. @stan continople In reality, they can't insinuate themselves into New York society. They never could. Epstein was not part of New York society. The people who sit on the boards of the two Mets (Museum and Opera) and countless other organizations may not be perfect, but they have a passion for their pursuits and they bring actual profits to the table, not phony promises. -- thegamesmenplay.com

  178. @stan continople At the Met Gala? They will be tarred and feathered long before they get there.

  179. @GG Well, I left out Harvey Weinstein, who was an active part of this menagerie until very recently, even though his history was an open secret. As George Carlin said, "It's a big club and you aint in it". And once in the club, it's virtually impossible to lose your membership.

  180. Jared - overheard while overseeing the laying of sod at of one of the golf courses owned by Trump: "Green side up!"

  181. Not funny, a sad response to a sad situation.

  182. Seeing is believing. This is a headline from Haaretz, english edition today: WeWork Founder Adam Neumann 'Helped Kushner Craft Mideast Peace Plan' The now disgraced ex-CEO reportedly claimed that three people would save the world: Mohammed bin Salman, Jared Kushner and Neumann himself Who could ask for anything more ?

  183. There's NO NEW! 76 miles of existing wall has been replaced or reinforced during Trump's presidency, no new wall has yet been completed . GET IT!

  184. @Think bout it What difference does it make other than wasting millions of taxpayer dollars. For $100 at a hardware store a yool can be bought to cut holes in it. What fools these Trumps be.

  185. Well, as far as we know Kushner doesn’t have a bone spur. That may be the only thing that distinguishes him from his Father-in-law!! Of course he and Ivanka can’t manage to temper or control our Tweeter- In-Chief. No one can.

  186. I agree. Jared should have just let the very successful policies of the Obama Administration continue, in dealings with the Mideast problems and with immigration. Democrats of course, had all of the problems solved.

  187. @John Bowman surely these weren't our only two options... leave everything as it was OR bring the incompetent son-in law in to create more problems...? Surely there was a third option. I don't know, something like appoint someone qualified to tackle the issues.

  188. @John Bowman Yes. Obama. Obama, an ehtical President saddled with the legacy of a collapsing economy & MidEast wars costing trillions. It's his fault.

  189. You’re therefore, saying that Obama’s appointments were incompetent. Otherwise the problems would have been solved.

  190. Expedited deportations, the rescinding of DACA and the imprisonment of business owners who conspire with undocumented aliens to undercut US wages are far more effective means of undermining the agency of illegal immigrants.

  191. I wonder why Obama didn’t think of that.

  192. Oh my God, get over yourselves. The Trumps and their in-laws are not competent to fetch coffee. Please stop the shameless nepotism.

  193. Kushner's legacy, of course, is going to be those tens of thousands of rat-infested Baltimore apartment buildings that he owns and profits from.

  194. @David Trump was shameless about referring to the rat infested slums of Baltimore. Then we found out Jared owns them. No wonder Melania was booed there today. Good!

  195. Why is it when a see a picture of one of Trump's grown children i think of rabbits?

  196. @Nightwood I just see Vampires managing to walk in daylight.

  197. @Nightwood LOL!

  198. I have two rabbits, Bunska and Demonseed who is an incorrigible little stinker, but never have I seen Trump's DNA hinted at in them.......until now. Thanks a lot. Trump toofies. This comment belongs in Reddit, but I couldnt help myself.

  199. First I am sure there are others like me who have enjoyed this op-ed because it gives us credit for knowing and understanding fairytale Princes and Princesses and understanding that too many of your fellow citizens are still living in their fairy tales. Hannah Arendt tried to inform us evil is banal sometimes even entertaining. In Washington so many characters are so far over the top we know they are not for real. There is no valiant and noble hero coming to the rescue. Someone is going to have to call a halt to this Bathetic Farce before this comedy becomes a real tragedy.

  200. "But when its corruption is being exposed and the drizzle of subpoenas becomes a downpour, they vanish, cuddling for warmth under the gilded umbrella of their hallucinatory virtue." Absolutely world class take down Mr. Bruni !

  201. @Tim Berry it's not a "world-class take down". It's a colorful opinion piece, nothing else. We don't win any favors by gloating when opinions like this are offered. We just look as petty and childish as those being criticized. Can't we just thank the writer for the piece and maintain some tact and dignity? It's interesting and actually quite sad how easily we claim a victory in a senseless battle...

  202. @mesarunner I hope at least you believe Adam Schiff and the witnesses in the impeachment inquiry maintained "tact and dignity" as opposed to Jim Jordan and Devin Nunes

  203. This is a keeper that I will enjoy reading over and over again. Thank you!

  204. Alas, awash in so much illusion and doublethink... To paraphrase from Orwell (also so recently cited by Judge Jackson): “Are two and two are four?” "Sometimes, but sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. We must try harder. It is not easy to become sane”.

  205. @domplein2 Wait, Monty Python, right?

  206. @Jan Orwell‘s 1984

  207. Oh, excellent. At least in this instance when he fails it will advance the interests of the desperate men, women and children along the southern border and prompt our legislative representatives to reform our immigration practices. Perhaps even address the 'push factors' (crime, poverty, corruption) in the countries that drive out their citizens.

  208. A delightful and on-target piece. And the excellent comments by readers truly complement Mr. Bruni's writing. Thanks for helping me laugh at the absurdity I read about every day! I needed that!

  209. Read the Economist, and then you will be educated.

  210. Jared is perfect for this role. Mexico was going to pay for he wall but of course won’t. The wall won’t be built given all the obstacles: the weather, the annoying matter of taking land from many ranchers on the US side or the border, potential impacts on the Río Grande (Rio Bravo in Mexico), etc. This fits nicely with Jared’s many other failures in this administration. And, quick, name 3 things he has accomplished? I have to ask others since he can’t seem to speak for himself.

  211. I couldn’t agree more. Nicely written; lovely to read.

  212. Alas, the Resistance has made government so difficult in the past three years, that it is a wonder than anything positive has happened at all. Nobody is so foolish as to suggest that congressional Democrats have cooperated with Trump on anything, and they have spent his entire presidency trying to get rid of him. If his projects fail, whoever is in charge of carrying them out, they are his failures and those of his appointees. If they succeed, well, that is not his success. They won't pass USMCA to replace NAFTA, because "that would give him a victory," and risk not only our own people, who lose by the failure to pass it, but anger the Mexicans and Canadians who agreed to it. What can Kushner do about the wall, or the fence? Whatever he tries, they will oppose. They already oppose Obama's border policy, as well as Trump's, and have labeled the former president a conservative. The Resistance über alles. And, of course, over all of us. Who cares if we hurt. The important, and only policy of the Opposition, is Resistance, and removal of Trump. November 2020? They won't even wait for us to decide.

  213. @Francis Walsingham Ah yes, congress was so cooperative during the Obama years. Get real, the reason nothing positive comes out of this government is because of the incompetent and corrupt narcissist leading it. And btw, neither Mexico nor Canada have any interest in passing USMCA, because it is a total waste of time, with only minor tweaks to the previous "worst trade deal of all time", with the whole process being very disruptive. I won't mention the labeling of Canada a national security threat, because that would be so "resistive", and it's thanksgiving. Be thankful there is a resistance, for without it you'd already be a banana republic.

  214. @Francis Walsingham Hmm, cooperate on what, exactly? I think the Democrats are still waiting for the infrastructure plan and Trump's incredible, wonderful healthcare plan. Meanwhile, over 100 bills passed by the House are languishing in McConnell's Senate. This administration can't even cooperate with itself.

  215. During Donald Trump's impeachment hearings in the house, Republicans asked whether Hunter Biden had some special genius that made him a logical choice to sit on Burisma's board. Of course, he does not. they wanted to make a point of demonstrating bald nepotism, corruption at its most egregious. Their line of questioning reminded me of Jared and Ivanka. It was obvious, even in the initial blizzard of jaw-dropping decisions Trump made, that the lovely couple would be given White House positions as trophies. No experience, expertise, or talent needed. Perfect Trump appointees.

  216. That should work just fine. That means there is very little concern for the wall to actually get finished!

  217. I’ve always been amazed looking at photos of the Trump family business now in the White House and wondered where are their children? What happens to the kids when the parents are off seeking brands. Really, why have kids if you are working to destroy the world.

  218. Jared is gaining valuable experience to be the next president of our country. When Trump dies, or becomes too old to continue as the head of our country, in all likelihood he will select Jared to replace him. There is nothing out of the ordinary here or anything that should surprise a Republican or other MAGA supporter.

  219. @Richard Phelps A president doesn't select his or her successor, silly child. A politician or party doesn't make a country great, it is the people of a country.

  220. @Richard Phelps That's meant to be sarcastic, correct?

  221. @Richard Phelps "There is nothing out of the ordinary here..." except your description has nothing to do with a democracy.

  222. We should thank the universe everyday that some of the people closest to Trump are so woefully incompetent. It’s not that Trump isn’t doing horrendous damage (EPA, foreign policy, tax policy etc), but it could be even worse. Please keep giving more and more jobs to Jared and Ivanka. Their total cluelessness and self-satisfaction are our greatest protectors.

  223. @Baldwin Sadly, that may be true.

  224. Mr Bruni's verbal pummeling of Jared Kushner and wife Ivanka is obviously sarcastic and mean spirited. After all in the early Trump presidency it was a relief to know that this duo had the President's ear and the head attached to it. Ivanka occasionally was even critical of a few of dad's actions and said so publicly. It cannot be easy to navigate the stage they find themselves on. It takes courage, grit, and determination to always have to function ( perform ) in the unforgiving public presidential spotlight. They appear to be willing to do that and there is nothing easy about it.

  225. @Neil Sorry. In my opinion, Bruni is spot on. #1 Ivanka and family continue to rake in $$$ at our expense. #2 The kids' will or ability to temper Daddy's mouth, decisions or behavior is non-existent. #3 Jared, like father-in-law, has business interests that compromise his alliances and strategies. #4 They knew very well what to expect with the situation "in which they find themselves." If it's so difficult, they can always step away. Memo to Ivanka: There will NEVER be a Trump dynasty.

  226. @Neil Remind us again who was forcing them to take positions in the White House, given that they had zero experience that would qualify them for these positions? The son-in-law-in-chief was unable to even pass his security screening. But let's applaud them for their noble sacrifices.

  227. @Neil Um, so now we're all supposed to feel sorry for these two incompetent, silver spoon-in-mouth beneficiaries of nepotism at its worst? I don't think so.

  228. Wow. Loved the verve and passion....this was fun to read. This essay is just in time for another holiday screening of It's a Wonderful Life. Three years with our own orange, angry, and bloated version of Mr. Potter ....the corrupt real estate mogul in charge of our money and morals. But in our current USA alternative reality...our Mr. Potter has his own children running around doing nasty errands, imaginary good deeds and building friendships with other Mr. Potters from dictatorships and despots around the world so they can populate the world with tacky hotels, teen pageants and unwelcomed golf courses. I can't imagine a better role for this wanna be couple. Hopefully, after 2020, they can reprise their roles on a reality show in prison or a gated Florida community.

  229. In all likelihood Jared will build an invisible wall and will try to convince papa-in-law that it is real.

  230. Invisible maybe to us, but not our paychecks!

  231. Jared jokes aside, I find it remarkable that Republicans have apparently abandoned the notion of property rights, and are perfectly happy to run over hundreds of thousands of landowners. What's a little eminent domain and improper taking among friends?

  232. @Eero those texas landowners will eat them alive!

  233. It is very difficult for the president to make friends. It might be because he belittles people with his constant name-calling. Or it might be because, when he commits another atrocity, he denies really knowing them, and throws them under the bus. Therefore, many people keep their distance, and the poor man is lonely. Only his close-knit nuclear family is able to maintain their loyalty, remain in his service, and take on the truly earth-shaking, crucial and iron-clad campaign promises. Surely, only Jared will be able to make Mexico pay for it.

  234. So Trump enlists the genius who paid more for 666 Fifth Avenue than it was worth, nearly bankrupting his company, to work on his border wall? We’d better hope that nothing gets built, because it is sure to cost more than market rates.

  235. @Ockham9 Like father-in-law ...like son-in-law!

  236. Actually, Mexico is paying for "the wall," by blocking asylum seekers trying to enter the US, at the Mexican and at Mexico's border with Guatemala, with no recompense from Trump. Mexico is stopping the flow of people desperate to come to the US because it is worried that if it doesn't, US tariffs will be imposed.

  237. Whenever I see Ivanka, I always think she's put together a "look" to convey "professional" and "competence" " and influential" but what I always see is a third-rate actress whose stylist worked on "Madame Secretary." Empty suits. Actually, the suits are OK. But the people wearing them are deplorable.