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Saturday, May 20, 2017

How Much of this is Jared's Fault?

Vox reports:
Jared Kushner: the young, pragmatic, hardheaded businessman out to modernize the US government and moderate the worst tendencies of his father-in-law — Donald Trump.
But what if, instead, Jared is not a panacea for the chaotic White House, but one of its biggest problems?
Kushner has vast financial interests tied to Russian and Chinese investors and has been turning quite the profit as he directs Trump's decisions. It's also pretty clear that he was the force pushing Trump to take this trip to Saudi Arabia and Israel. So much so that Trump confidante has lashed out against Jared on Twitter today:

And in a very pro-Trump take, US News reports;
As Trump and the 81-year-old king, who was aided by a cane, walked along the red carpet, military jets flew swept the sky, leaving a red, white and blue trail. During a ceremony at the grand Saudi Royal Court, Salman awarded Trump the Collar of Abdulaziz al Saud, the kingdom's highest civilian honor.

Trump bent down so the king could place the gold medal around his neck. Saudi Arabia has previously bestowed the honor on Russian President Vladimir Putin, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Obama.
Notice that Trump is the only one bending and curtsying to the king.
Trump's warm welcome reflected the degree to which Saudi Arabia had become disillusioned with Obama. The Saudis deeply distrusted Obama's overtures to Iran and were frustrated by his restrained approach to the Syrian civil war.
As Trump arrived, Iranians had just re-elected Hassan Rouhani — one of Obama's partners in the landmark accord aimed at curbing Tehran's nuclear ambitions — for a second four-year-term as president, validating his push for greater freedoms and outreach to the wider world. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he hoped Rouhani would use his new term "to begin a process of dismantling Iran's network of terrorism."
Trump made no substantial remarks on his first day abroad and spent most of his time shuttling between opulent palace ballrooms with the king. The two were overheard discussing natural resources and arms, and Salman bemoaned the destruction caused by Syria's civil war.
The most tangible agreement between the two leaders was the $110 billion sale of military equipment to Saudi Arabia that is effective immediately and could expand up to $350 billion over 10 years. The deal includes tanks, combat ships, missile defense systems, radar and communications, and cybersecurity technology. The State Department said the agreement could support "tens of thousands of new jobs in the United States."
Trump was joined on the trip by the CEOs of several major U.S. companies, which announced their own agreements with the Saudis. Among them was a $15 billion arrangement with GE focused on power, oil and gas, and health care.
The president was trailed on the trip by a large number of advisers, including Tillerson, chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Steve Bannon. Trump's son-in law, Jared Kushner, and daughter Ivanka, both senior advisers, were also part of the official delegation.
Ivanka's presence dominated Arabic Twitter traffic, with the phrase "bint Trump" — Arabic for daughter of Trump — trending.
Yeah... about that.
The Saudis' warn welcome appeared to lift the spirits of Trump's beleaguered staff, ensnared in a seemingly endless cycle of negative stories involving Comey's firing and the intensifying Russia investigations. After a lavish lunch with the Saudi delegation, Kushner high-fived national security adviser H.R. McMaster.
Later Saturday, Trump was greeted by a traditional troupe of Saudi drummers and sword-waving dancers. Trump smirked and bopped to the beat as he made his way through the crowd.
I wonder what Jared's cut will wind up being given that he's been negotiating deals for Saudi Arabia. Judging by the high five from the typically reserved Kusher, it's probably going to be in the 9-figures.

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