he denounced the “half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems.”
..McCain and Bannon are the antipodes of the Republican Party.
- The institutionalist versus the insurgent.
- The internationalist versus the America Firster.
- The maverick versus the ideologue.
- Above all, the hedgehog versus the honey badger.
The hedgehog, said the Greek poet Archilochus, knows one big thing.
.. On Monday McCain called America “the land of the immigrant’s dream,” and said: “We live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil.”
To a large and growing segment of the G.O.P., which thinks magnanimity is for losers, these statements amount to a form of treason.
.. The honey badger, by contrast, will do anything to get what it wants. It is wily, nasty and has as much use for honor as a pornographer has for dress.
.. For the honey badger, it’s whatever works: anti-Semite one day; Israel’s make-believe champion the next. Bannon is the most revolting operator in American political life since Roy Cohn.
.. The goal isn’t to win elections but to purge the party and remake it in Bannon’s image. He wasn’t kidding when he told historian Ronald Radosh in 2013 that he’s a “Leninist.”
.. serve as a rallying point for a Republican Party that can save itself from dishonor, win its share of elections, and stand up to the honey badgers who mean to pillage it.
There was evidence that the father was abusing the kids, who by 2002 were teenagers. He acknowledged whipping them with a belt and forcing them to sit with paper bags over their heads. He refused to send the younger children to summer school, even though their grades were bad. When the kids called their mother, their father taped the conversations. By the time the case got to the Alabama Supreme Court, a lower court had ruled in the mother’s favor. The Alabama Supreme Court reversed the ruling, with then Chief Justice Roy Moore writing in a concurring opinion that a gay person couldn’t be a fit parent.
“Homosexual conduct is, and has been, considered abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature, and a violation of the laws of nature and of nature’s God upon which this nation and our laws are predicated,” wrote Moore. He added, “The state carries the power of the sword, that is, the power to prohibit conduct with physical penalties, such as confinement and even execution. It must use that power to prevent the subversion of children toward this lifestyle, to not encourage a criminal lifestyle.”
.. But Moore’s victory is also a victory for Trumpism, a populist movement that has eroded normal limits on political behavior... Fritz Stern, a historian who fled Nazi Germany, described the “conservative revolution” that prefigured National Socialism: “The movement did embody a paradox: its followers sought to destroy the despised present in order to recapture an idealized past in an imaginary future.”.. What Moore’s critics see as lawlessness, his fans see as insurgent valor. Trump’s most prominent nationalist supporters, including Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka, lined up behind Moore, describing him as part of the Trumpian revolution. Nigel Farage, a right-wing British politician and Trump ally, flew to Fairhope, Ala., to speak at a rally for Moore, saying on stage, “It is getting someone like him elected that will rejuvenate the movement that led to Trump and Brexit.”.. Back then, anti-gay prejudice was far more acceptable than it is today, but Moore’s messianic denunciation of a lesbian mother was still shocking. Trump is not a pious man, but by destroying informal restraints on reactionary rhetoric, he’s made his party hospitable to the cruelest of theocrats.Moore’s success is bound to encourage more candidates like him. The Republican establishment’s borders have been breached. Its leaders should have built a wall.
With little experience, and against all predictions to the contrary, Kushner had managed Trump’s way to the White House, and was now poised to be his most trusted adviser and enforcer in the West Wing.
.. He had come to offer a message to his old friends: Be unafraid.
.. He thought about immigration in terms of Silicon Valley’s needs, about education the way Robin Hood Foundation philanthropists did, about climate change in terms of carbon emissions, not mining jobs. Then, about a year ago, Kushner said, he had started traveling the country with Trump, going to rallies where thousands of ordinary Americans shouted in fury about government regulations and the Common Core curriculum.
.. David Zaslav, the chief executive of the Discovery cable networks, asked Kushner how it would be possible in the future to have a national discussion based on facts. Kushner replied that it was the media that was deluded about America, claiming his own computer models told him the morning of the election that Trump would capture more than 300 electoral votes.
.. Kushner believes Trump’s victory was a repudiation of the media and both political parties — the entire governing Establishment. He said he was “proud” Trump had won only 4 percent of the vote in Washington, D.C.
.. He predicted the administration would take a “rational” position on immigration and would join with Democrats to invest in infrastructure, which he said could mean not only roads and bridges but high-speed internet and driverless cars. He said Trump had asked Elon Musk why the aerospace industry couldn’t make planes that fly faster, like the Concorde used to, and Musk replied that most CEOs preferred incremental improvements to moon-shot risks.
.. Ten blocks to the north, in his golden tower, Trump was nominating a climate-change skeptic for Interior secretary and tweeting gleefully about Russian hacking, even as his son-in-law said America needed to take a long-term view of the “warfare of the future.”
.. Kushner flattered the Partnership audience by saying the president-elect was happy to be bringing so many billionaires to D.C., asking, “Who else to do you want to see cutting deals?”
.. Kushner’s impact can be seen in the centrist tilt of Trump’s economic team, which is heavy on Goldman Sachs guys. For secretary of State, he preferred Mitt Romney and, later, Rex Tillerson over bomb-throwers like John Bolton and Rudy Giuliani.
.. “For a guy who was a progressive,” Bannon says, “he really gets this grassroots populist movement in a huge way.”
.. “We have no formal chain of command around here,” Trump said
.. the depth of Kushner’s commitment to Trump’s reactionary agenda was surrounded by a bit of what Henry Kissinger — a Kushner admirer — would call constructive ambiguity.
.. he had always been quick to champion Trump to his many detractors and expressed admiration for his knack for self-promotion and his impish ability to play the press for suckers. But Kushner never gave the impression that he had anything more than a grudging son-in-law’s level of tolerance for Trump’s more radical positions.
.. Back when Trump was spinning birther conspiracy theories, which were lapped up by gullible Republicans, one person who talked to Kushner says he offered assurances that his father-in-law didn’t really believe that stuff.
.. His voice is just literally soft. His opinions are anything but deferential. “He’s very aggressive,” says Zelnick, who says that once Kushner makes up his mind, “it may look like he’s barreling down a path.”
.. Above all, he and Trump share a clannish outlook on life, business, and politics. Trump prizes loyalty, especially when it flows upward, and no defender has been more steadfast during his turbulent struggle than Kushner. Neither forgets when he’s been wronged. They both appear to enjoy the metallic taste of payback, although of the two, Trump may be the more forgiving.
.. In fact, “family first” is his paramount value, a personal principle instilled in him through bitter history.
.. Rae Kushner, the family’s matriarch, was born in Novogrudek, in what is now Belarus. When the Nazis arrived in 1941, they executed the town’s Jewish doctors, lawyers, and intellectuals on the square, as an orchestra played. Rae, a teenager, was one of 50 girls selected to scrub their blood from the cobblestones.
.. They ended up in a displaced-persons camp, where they spent three and a half years while the family waited for a visa to immigrate to the United States. “Nobody wanted to take us in,” Rae said in The Miracle of Life. At the time, the United States had immigration quotas based on ethnicity. “For the Jews, the doors were closed. We never understood that. Even President Roosevelt kept the doors closed.”
.. “You cater to the masses, you eat with the classes.”
.. He has also served as a bridge to the government of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has known the Kushners for years.
.. Through Jared’s teenage years, his father became increasingly involved in politics, becoming a top Democratic Party donor. Politicians with national aspirations, including Hillary Clinton, would regularly pay visits to the Kushners.
.. Charlie wanted more than just zoning approvals. He aspired to be a kingmaker.
.. that was Charlie’s flaw: his craving for a public role.
.. Chris Christie, the ambitious U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, who appeared to relish the idea of pursuing Governor McGreevey’s patron.
.. Jared saw his father as a victim of injustice. “It’s an outrage that Charlie’s brother and sister cooperated with the government against him; that’s the lowest thing a Jew can do in my book,”
.. The youthful staff at the Observer made subsistence wages, but the writers didn’t seem bothered about money. They competed instead for the fickle approval of the paper’s charismatic editor, Peter Kaplan, who cultivated an air of intellectual eccentricity punctuated by sarcastic exclamation points.
.. If Kushner, then 25, was seeking to confirm a suspicion that the media was made up of socially insecure smartasses who glory in the human failings of the rich and powerful, he couldn’t have picked a better place to educate himself.
.. Kaplan told friends that Kushner’s favorite book was The Count of Monte Cristo, the story of a wronged man who escapes prison, becomes rich, and uses his wealth to stealthily visit vengeance upon his unsuspecting enemies.
.. Wildstein was hired by Christie and engineered the politically retributive traffic jam at the George Washington Bridge. After the scheme came to light, Kushner sent an email to Wildstein, who had resigned amid the investigation. “That’s another thing we have in common I guess with my Dad having done the same,” he wrote. “For what its worth, I thought the move you pulled was kind of badass.”
.. Ray Kelly, the former NYPD commissioner, who got to know Kushner as a donor to the New York City Police Foundation
.. he saw Kushner as a “law-and-order person” who was supportive of the Bloomberg administration’s technocratic approach to government. Kushner was also close to Joel Klein, the schools chancellor, who influenced his views on education reform
.. In 2006, Jared negotiated the purchase of 666 Fifth Avenue for $1.8 billion, a record sum for a Manhattan office building at the time. The transaction was financed by an onerous amount of debt. The following year, the Kushner Companies liquidated its apartment portfolio for $1.9 billion. The shift was akin to trading a fleet of taxicabs for a single Formula 1 race car. “It wasn’t my idea to buy a New York building,” says Hammer, who was chairman of the company during Charlie’s absence. “That was really the idea of a very aggressive, ambitious young man.”
.. Kushner’s loans were premised on the assumption that office rents would rise; instead, the economy crashed.
.. Vulture investors bought the debt, threatening foreclosure. Kushner felt besieged, with few friends and no leverage.
.. Kushner didn’t forget who had been unkind to him along the way.
.. Kushner emerged from the crisis with a reputation as a gutsy dealmaker.
.. “He’s very uncluttered in his mind,”
.. “I think that simplicity allows him to filter some things out.”
.. Kushner managed to tune out the doubts of those who thought the prices he and his partners had paid, more than $1 billion in all, were hard to justify.
.. Kushner’s public identity underwent its own conversion. In the newspapers, he was no longer inevitably identified as a felon’s son — he was Ivanka’s husband, an auxiliary Trump.
.. Kushner and a local partner developed the building on a site they bought out of foreclosure in 2011. As is his practice, Trump lends his name via a branding and management deal, while Kushner’s partnership owns and financed the development.
.. The partnership raised about a third of its projected $193 million cost via the federal EB-5 program, which offers green cards to foreign investors. Bloomberg News reported that it was marketed to would-be Chinese immigrants
.. he would return to New York, which was dwelling in its comfortable delusions. “Nobody has less credibility than the people in this town,” he recently told an associate. “If you want to talk with yourselves all day and convince yourselves that you’re right, that’s what people in this town do all day.” Trump was giving voice to authentic grievances, Kushner thought
.. For all the criticism he has encountered, though, Kushner has displayed supreme confidence in his own judgment.
.. “If the campaign was proof of anything, it was that neither prior campaign experience nor, perhaps especially, presidential-campaign experience was required,”
.. “Pollsters are total thieves,” he said in his speech to the Partnership. Kushner pushed the campaign to use direct-marketing strategies employed by private tech companies.
.. “Why did he have to do it that way, why did he say it this way? Et cetera,” he says. “And I would always get a typical Jared response from him that was, ‘Look, there’s a bigger picture here, you know, I know what he said maybe didn’t look good, but he really didn’t mean it that way.’
.. Kushner received more scorching emails, too, some of them from people he respected. He viewed these as useful data points — he now knew who his loyal friends were. “I call it an exfoliation,”
.. The criticism seemed to trigger a practiced defense mechanism. In private conversations, he would return to the prior experience of his father’s arrest and his brush with financial ruin at 666 Fifth. “I’ve been in quite a few foxholes in my life,”
.. Kushner found in Bannon a strategist just as disdainful as he was of the traditional campaign playbook. “He threw the whole thing out,” Bannon says. “That’s why I bonded with him.”
.. Kushner arguably has more in common with Bannon — an insurgent attitude, a disdain for the GOP Establishment, a background in digital media — than with anyone in Trump’s orbit besides Ivanka.
.. Kushner, as a family member, was often the person called on to broach difficult conversations with Trump, such as firing Lewandowski or talking him out of offering the vice-presidency to Governor Chris Christie.
.. in its final days, the campaign needed $10 million to buy advertising in several key states, which analysts gave Trump little chance of winning, Kushner made the ask. “He appealed to him by saying, ‘I know this is family money and personal wealth, I get it, and I also know that you can win and we need that extra infusion,’ ”
.. Kushner recruited Bill Stepien, the ruthless campaign manager that Christie fired for his role in the bridge plot, to be Trump’s political director.
.. If Trump’s administration is anything like his campaign, or the rest of his life, it is likely to be split along lines of clan, with the conservative Republicans — Pence, Conway, and chief-of-staff Reince Priebus — competing for influence with the cadre of outsiders who are loyal to Trump, foremost among them Kushner and Ivanka
.. “Certainly a president needs someone to say, ‘Look, this isn’t helpful to you, this isn’t helpful to the country,’ ” Reed says. “I think Jared will play that role.” Still, there’s little evidence that anyone can moderate Trump, other than Trump himself
.. Some of the same Manhattan liberals who ostracized him during the campaign were rattled afterward, and they sent him emails, trying to offer healing words of congratulations and conciliation. These went right in the trash. Kushner is in no mood to offer comfort