If Jared and Ivanka are helping you sleep at night, you should ‘still be awake,’ says John Oliver
(Warning: Video contains potentially offensive language.)
Since Donald Trump took office in January, a narrative has emerged that his daughter, Ivanka, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, are more moderate voices in an administration known for more extreme personalities.
But on Sunday, "Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver threw cold water on that widely held assumption.
With both Kushner and the younger Trump now assuming official roles in the White House — and Kushner, in particular, tasked with a Herculean to-do list that includes bringing peace to the Middle East and ending the opioid epidemic — Oliver attempted to answer two questions.
Is Ivanka really the moderating influence that people claim?
And what in Jared’s background justifies such a gigantic White House portfolio?
As for Ivanka, who has been "cast as the calm, reasonable, indoor-voiced" member of the Trump clan, Oliver saw little evidence of her oft-cited support for Planned Parenthood or concern over climate change. Instead, she is "trained to be as vague and likable as possible so everyone can plausibly think she shares their values," he said.
On the rare occasion she has publicly voiced her opinion on matters of policy, as in a television appearance in which she inaccurately characterized Hillary Clinton’s parental leave plans, she was misleading, Oliver said. "When it comes to lying about easily observable facts, the apple does not fall far from the orange."
Oliver was similarly unimpressed by Kushner, whose Harvard degree is often cited as evidence of his capabilities. After all, he joked, "the Unabomber went to Harvard," and not everyone’s father can afford to donate $2.5 million to their first-choice school, as Kushner’s did.
Given Kushner’s ubiquity at the president’s side, Oliver also wondered why it was so rare to actually hear him speak and did not, unlike some pundits, consider it evidence of his quiet brilliance. Instead, Kushner was more akin to "a sentient Kohl’s mannequin who read a book once."
Running through Kushner’s business record, including a stint as the publisher of the New York Observer and the troubled purchase of a Fifth Avenue skyscraper, Oliver determined there was not much to recommend this "creepily silent 36-year-old heir to a real-estate fortune" for a job that "would be unmanageable for the smartest man on earth."
Oliver’s ultimate conclusion? "If they are the reason you’re sleeping at night, you should probably still be awake."
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times) Sheryl Crow (Christopher Berkey / For The Times) Erin Moran, in the blue dress, with Garry Marshall, left,Tom Bosley, Marion Ross, Henry Winkler and Anson Williams in 2001. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)