(JTA) — The Jared and Ivanka Watch continues, with liberals holding out hope against hope that the president’s closest family members can moderate his policies and worst instincts.
As the saying goes, they shouldn’t hang by their thumbs.
In “Still Standing, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump Step Back in the Spotlight,” The New York Times reports on President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, and the “disappointment” of the liberal coterie of friends they left behind in New York two years ago.
The thrust of the article: It was always wishful thinking when liberals thought the couple would run interference against the president.
“The couple’s allies insist that the expectations of their friends were way too high from the beginning, and that the admonitions to publicly denounce Mr. Trump were never realistic or fair,” write Maggie Haberman and Katie Rogers. “They also say that the two have become more careful about how they engage with people, after early missteps.”
The article goes over two areas where the Kushners have disappointed liberal acquaintances: immigration, particularly the separation of families, and reproductive rights.
In fact, Ivanka Trump has kinda sorta spoken out on the separation of migrant families – in June, on Twitter, thanking her father for signing an executive order reversing the policy. She has not spoken out since then, as the government has been slow to fully implement the order.
The article omits two areas in which Ivanka Trump has spoken out, quite forcefully: against Roy Moore, the Alabama Senate candidate her father endorsed last year even after he was accused of sexual acts with minors, and against racism, white supremacy and neo-Nazis, after her father equivocated a year ago in the wake of the deadly neo-Nazi violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Laced throughout the story are illustrations of the dynamics of the relationship among Ivanka Trump, her husband and her father. It doesn’t sound like the formula for a robust exchange of ideas.
The president reportedly joked to aides that he regrets that his daughter years ago ignored his urgings to date Tom Brady, the New England Patriots quarterback.
“Instead, I got Jared Kushner,” The Times quotes Trump as saying. Trump late last year also reportedly mused that it might be better all around if the Kushners returned to New York.
Since then, and as Trump has shed aides and the federal investigation into wrongdoing by his campaign and administration has grown more intense, the family has grown closer, as families do in times of crisis.
And it seems that the pair have given their blessing to a White House adviser who represents the hardest of hard lines on immigration: Stephen Miller.
“They regard Stephen Miller, a supporter of some of Mr. Trump’s harshest stands on immigration, as a walking policy encyclopedia,” the article says.
Miller also has considerable policy experience from his time on Capitol Hill. For the Kushners, who lacked in expertise what they made up for in family ties, Miller’s know-how trumps his ideology.
Talk of returning to New York seems to be fading, as the Kushners involve themselves more robustly in policy. Kushner is talking up Israeli-Palestinian peace again, and Ivanka Trump last week said she was giving up her clothing and accessory brands in part because she wanted to focus more on her role as an adviser.
And, according to The Times, part of what’s anchoring the couple in Washington is their Jewish involvement here.
“Home is now in Washington, where their children attend Jewish schools,” it says.