By M D Nalapat
Donald Trump needs to walk back from any liaison with the racists if he is to survive in office.
Ivanka Trump Kushner has been clubbed together with her husband, Jared. Many commentators believe that she plays a secondary role in the partnership, and that her husband's word is law. Such a view underestimates Ivanka, who is known by other habitues of Palm Beach to have a very independent mind, very like her mother Ivana, who separated and later divorced Donald Trump.
Unlike first lady Melania Trump, who is known to have a sunny and accommodating nature, Ivana was famed for her fiery temper, a trait that was clearly not kept a secret from her billionaire husband.
After the marital union between Donald and Ivana went sour, it must have been painful for the youthful Ivanka to negotiate her way between two very strong-minded parents in such a manner that she retained the trust and affection of both. However, she succeeded in this delicate task, and along the way emerged as a strong-willed personality herself, albeit concealed within the velvet cloak of perfect manners.
Even without being officially designated counselor to the president, Ivanka would be among the most consequential figures in Washington.
However, being given the formal responsibility of advising President Trump enables Ivanka to be present at important meetings without raising eyebrows, and to get access to top secret information that otherwise would be a crime to share with her. Without such information,much of the advice proferred to her father may be incompletely thought through.
There is a growing number of individuals in the United States dedicated to ending the Trump presidency at the earliest, preferably though the impeachment, prosecution and jailing of the 45th president, and this group has been vocal in condemning the official position given to Ivanka as "nepotism".
They forget that John Fitzgerald Kennedy appointed his brother Robert as Attorney General of the United States, partly in order to ensure that hyper-sensitive secrets generated within the White House remained within the family. His father, Joseph Kennedy, had a similarly secretive group of confidantes and problem solvers close at hand who served him well in several tasks that may not have met with the approval of church elders or even the police.
The secrecy and loyalty that the personality of John F. Kennedy ensured in almost the whole of his inner group of advisers resulted in hardly any negative stories emerging about a president whose life was cut short in Dallas with a year to go before he completed his first term.
Only much later did reports surface of some of the less attractive attributes and actions of Kennedy, but none of these could dim the roseate glow that has covered his administration. Such a hue was not entirely deserved. Barring a few mainly symbolic acts, Kennedy did little to advance the cause of justice for the African-American community, leaving that task to his successor, Lyndon Baines Johnson.
As for Vietnam, it was not during the eight Eisenhower years but the three Kennedy years that the U.S. military presence in that tortured country went up exponentially. His admirers say that a second Kennedy term would have seen a drawdown and withdrawal from Vietnam, but such a proposition, together with many others posthumously favorable to him, remain mere hypotheses untested by reality.
It was therefore not a lapse in ethics for Donald Trump to recruit Ivanka into his official family, nor was it wrong for her to have accepted the job.
However, what should perhaps have been avoided was the simultaneous entry of son-in-law Kushner into the official family from his privileged perch in the personal. And thereafter, it would have been better to avoid immediately entrusting him with tasks as indescribably difficult as securing peace in the Middle East between Israel and its traducers.
Both the Trump and Kushner families need to pray that their net worth will be lower when Trump steps down from his current job (hopefully after serving two terms, as his three immediate predecessors did) than it was on Jan. 20. Should their businesses do well (or worse, do spectacularly well), hundreds of lawyers, accountants and muckrakers would be actively searching for grounds to allege a link between such success and the presidency.
By agreeing to be appointed to a senior White House post, Kushner has ensured that any business transaction which favors the enterprises his family controls will be looked at askance and challenged, not simply in the media but in the courts. Companies that deal with a Kushner enterprise will find themselves in the spotlight, locked within a beam of transparency that has been heavily tilted against Trump and his family members from the start of his term in the world's most prestigious office.
Accepting his current job has given the traducers of his father-in-law a tempting target, and already reports are swirling about the extent of the losses that some of his real estate ventures are making, and about how Saudi Arabian and Chinese interests have been in touch with him on the matter. Given that neither country is the flavor of the season in Washington, interests linked to them are certain to generate a torrent of criticism that may result in driving them away from his businesses.
Kushner would spare his own and his wife's family much grief were he to quietly resign his White House job and return to private (and business) life.
Those in India who know Donald Trump affirm that he is no "white supremacist" but an outgoing, liberal personality. Whoever advised him to equivocate in condemning the neo-Nazis and neo-KKK bigots who gathered to protest the taking down of a statue in Virginia to a Confederate general has harmed the president severely. The president of the United States has a global constituency, and if those with yellow, brown or black complexions regard him as a racist, a United States under President Trump will shrivel in global importance.
Indeed, the overwhelming majority of those who are white would similarly detest any hint of racial superiority of the kind popularized in Germany by Adolf Hitler. Let it not be forgotten that in locations across the world, including in the United States, some of the most effective blows against racial privilege have been administered by those who are, to use a quaint term, "white."
The World War I corporal attracted tens of millions of losers to his banner in the 1930s by giving them a chance to publicly lash out at the winners they detested for being better than themselves. Ultimately, Germany under Hitler became the worst loser of all. Those who abhor folks of a different hue or faith are in need of medical attention, which hopefully most will get before their actions threaten human societies.
What they do not need is the oxygen for an exclusivist cause that comes their way when the U.S. president declines to call them out. Donald Trump needs to walk back from any liaison with the racists if he is to survive in office. Should he fail to do so, the enemies of the United States will seize upon this to box the world's most powerful country into the global isolation ward. An untouchable president will soon result in an untouchable country. It is time for the president to listen to his gentle and wise counselor Ivanka and not to the misdirected who confuse merit with skin pigmentation.
It is time for the Real Donald Trump to dismiss those handlers who are firing bullets of hate and prejudice from his shoulders.