The ancient Greeks had a myth for all occasions and for all human temptations. We are all familiar with the lessons of Jason and the Argonauts and the search for the Golden Fleece, the myth of Phaethon and the Sun Chariot, the never-ending travails of Atlas and the soaring flight and spectacular fall of Icarus. Think of those ancient myths when pondering Jared Kushner’s future at the hands of the Special Prosecutor, Robert Mueller.
Last May I wrote that Jared Kushner’s education and training put the lie to the myth that his failure to disclose meetings with foreign officials including those with Russian Ambassador Kizlyar, Russian banker Goroka and Chinese insurance giant Anbang and many others, were inadvertent. His education and training suggest that his actions were a series of felonies made with the intent to deceive and conceal. Jared Kushner is too smart to be stupid, so I called for his arrest and prosecution.
Since then many an angry and irrational tweet has rolled off Donald Trump’s stubby fingers requiring that I revisit Jared Kushner’s past, present and possible future.
To fully understand the Jared conundrum, you have to accept that he and Donald share deep character flaws. The first is genetic – they just ain’t that bright. Yes, they attended good schools – the University of Pennsylvania for Donald and Harvard for Jared – yet their admission was based on large donations and not SAT scores. I welcome the publication of Donald’s New York Military Academy academic transcript and his SAT scores and full disclosure of Charles and Seryl Kushner’s multi-million dollars gift to Harvard to support my argument. As for Jared, to lie on his SF-86 Questionnaire for National Security Positions four time is proof positive of his innate stupidity. As for Donald, to openly boast of grabbing women by the pussy and sexually assaulting them, need I say more?
A more nuanced, existential flaw – the Curse of the Outer Boroughs – mars Donald and Jared’s psyches. This affliction is peculiar to the greater New York City area. In the 70’s and the 80’s it was known as a dismissive slight – you called people “BBQ’rs”, as in Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens. It’s an inferiority complex, a state of being where you never fit in.
Donald may have left Jamaica Queens, crossed the East River, rented a Manhattan apartment and embarked on bachelor-in-paradise odyssey. You would think that he would play the field with domestic contemporaries as female trophies. Not so, he gravitated towards the newly arrived Eurotrash crowd where he could dominate with his father’s money. His family was never accepted by the Manhattan establishment. His mother might have travelled by chauffeured Rolls Royce limousine, but her travels took her to Fred’s apartment house laundry rooms where she collected the tenant’s quarters.
Likewise, Jared Kushner fled the sterile wasteland of the Jersey suburbs, crossing the Hudson and landing on Manhattan’s fabled isle. But he arrived as the son of a convicted felon who had turned on his own kith and kin under intense lurid tabloid scrutiny. He bought his way into the graces of a rootless society of dubious morality led by Rupert Murdoch and his then wife Wendi. He bought Arthur Carter’s pink broadsheet The New York Observer using it as a bully pulpit to curry favor.
Jared and the Donald were never invited to join the right clubs, the Union League, the Union, the Colony or the Knickerbocker Club. The best they could do was to frequent pay-to-join joints, the Mar-a-Lago Club and Trump National Gold Club – Bedminster. The resentment must be galling to egos easily bruised.
Donald and Jared share another character flaw, that of greed and avarice – let us grab Paris’ Golden Apple, seize the power and riches of the Golden Fleece. Donald had his greed and avarice curbed by bitter experience. His initial success with the old Commodore/new Hyatt Hotel was made possible by his father Fred’s money and political clout with an assist from Roy Cohn, the ultimate fixer but it was soon wrested away from him. His loss was followed by an unpreceded string of financial defeats: he lost control of the General Motors Building, then the Plaza Hotel, then the Trump Shuttle, then his interest in the Empire State Building, followed by the serial bankruptcies of his Atlantic City casinos and, lest we forget, his ouster from the far West Side Penn Central rail yard project.
Today, Donald has to be satisfied with leasing his name, promoting his image and avoiding the pitfalls and risks of actually owning property, letting that risk to others, calling them “suckers”.
Jared has yet to learn that bitter lesson. His personal Waterloo is bound to be the fight for control and ownership of 666 Fifth Avenue. Jared bet the family farm when he bought the building in 2007 for the astronomical price of $1.8 billion dollars putting the family fortune at risk. He sold chunks of the building to keep it afloat yet the building is 25% empty and the $1.2 billion-dollar mortgage is due in a year’s time.
I am convinced that Jared’s clandestine meetings with the Russians, the Chinese, the Saudis, the Emirates and who knows who else were desperate attempts to leverage his position as Donald’s son-in-law and factotum plenipotentiary to arrange for financing for that soon to implode real estate investment.
I leave it to others to decide if this course of action violated the law. Last May I came to the conclusion that Jared was too smart to be stupid. I stand corrected. He is just too damn stupid to be smart.
Deyan Ranko Brashich is a contributor writing from New York. He is the author of Letters from America, Contrary Views and Dispatches. His contact and blog “Contrary Views” is at www.deyanbrashich.com