Doubling Down: Trump Adds Massive Small Business Program To Daughter’s Portfolio

For years, I have criticized President Donald Trump for his embrace of nepotism with the use of his son-in-law Jared Kushner and his daughter Ivanka Trump as high-ranking advisers in the White House. I was particularly critical recently when Trump gave Kushner a major role in the pandemic recovery. While I disagreed with some of the more over-wrought statements about Kushner’s role, it was still wrong in my view from both an ethical and political standpoint. Now however the Administration is doubling down by putting Ivanka Trump in a key public spot in the $349 million loan program for small business. The American people have a right to know that the trillions of dollars (and hundreds of thousands of lives) at stake are being managed by people selected on the merits, not familial ties to the President.

As many of you know, I have been a critic of nepotism in government for decades, most recently discussed the inclusion of Kushner and Ivanka Trump on the White House staff since it was announced because it is a form of raw nepotism. (See herehere, and here and here) I have also been a long critic of such nepotism by members of Congress. The sudden thrusting of the two to the forefront of this crisis is remarkably harmful to the Administration and its efforts. I have been highly impressed, and relieved, by the superb team assembled by the task force.

The President has long ignored objections to nepotism but this is a pandemic where a nation is facing catastrophic public health and economic conditions. I simply do not understand why President Trump needs to interject his family into his pandemic response. It only casts doubt on the White House gathering the best minds to run these programs and to advise him on policies.

The President has worked to boost his daughter’s performance, including recently crediting her with creating ten percent of all jobs in the United States. While critics have questioned that credit for 15 million jobs, the point is that the use of one’s own children diminishes such claims of success as the public has to consider the merits through the maze of nepotism.

Again, I am not questioning Ivanka Trump’s intelligence. However, such appointments have always been wrong for the country. It was wrong for John F. Kennedy to appoint his brother at Attorney General and wrong for Bill Clinton to make Hillary Clinton the head of the health care task force. Those wrongs do not make this right.

73 thoughts on “Doubling Down: Trump Adds Massive Small Business Program To Daughter’s Portfolio”

  1. He probably trust her, which is more than anyone can say about all the flunkies hired under previous administrations. But he could have hired his own flunky outside of family.

  2. I don’t think that President Trump trusts very many people outside of his inner circle. He ignores objections because there have been a string of leaks and the abuse of positions of authority to strike at him. So he puts his own people in positions of authority.

    Ivanka Trump has advised and lobbied the President for issues that she cares about, including those facing working women. I do not know if her resume qualifies her for this job.

    The first and foremost problem with nepotism is pay-to-play. That should be avoided at all cost. Unfortunately, it’s about par for the course in American politics. Foreign governments and companies foreign and domestic seem to have little trouble accessing influence through various relations and friends. It’s a seedy business, and it does not put the country or its citizens first. Pay-to-play also affects lobbying. For example, in CA, unions donate staggering amounts of money to politicians, who then write bills and contracts that directly benefit those unions. It’s become reminiscent of organized crime.

    Another problem is when unqualified people are put into positions of authority and power. That also has negative consequences.

    In order for a President to continue to use his closest confidants as sounding boards requires clearance. A President will always need someone safe to talk to, who isn’t going to go out and sell a book, go to the tabloids, or otherwise undermine him or her. Therefore, I have no problem with admitting an inner circle into advisory or staff positions, barring background disqualifies.

    I do agree that there is a long history in American politics of pay-to-play, and unqualified people getting positions of power. Ivanka is not in a position of pay-to-play, but her qualifications should come under scrutiny and must pass muster.

    1. Karen,

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  3. Well, the other option is to once again appoint Joe Biden, and reinstate Obama’s fancy-schmancy IG and oversight boards, and watch the money to go everybody but us.

  4. I’m not against nepotism, if a person is qualified, or trains and becomes qualified over years of work effort.

    However, plunking sons or daughters into roles without experience and knowledge.is problematic.

    Also, putting Ben Carson in charge of HUD. The man is a prestigious pediatric brain surgeon. Make him the Surgeon General. Now that is common sense.

    You put leaders in fields that is their expertise, not otherwise. You set them up to fail, congrats, Narc.

    1. You put leaders in fields that is their expertise, not otherwise.

      Wrong. You put managers in the fields with their expertise. You put leaders in leadership positions because that is their expertise.

      1. Olly, it’s interesting that you say that. One of my relatives has a knack for making businesses profitable. Any business, apparently. It doesn’t matter if he has no experience in that particular field. His expertise is in growing small businesses into big ones.

        In some fields, leadership positions would require experience in that industry. A CEO could do a great job on government procurement overhauls, contracts administration, and logistics. But he would not be able to replace a 4 star general.

        There are, however, many instances where it is leadership or other expertise that counts.

        My concern isn’t with putting an inner circle into staff positions. That allows a President to continue to use trusted people as sounding boards instead of surrounding themselves with strangers who may, or may not, support the administration. My objection is when that expands into plums for which they are not qualified and could do damage.

        I do not know if Ivanka’s resume qualifies her for this position. It stands to reason that she should pass muster. If I was President, I would want that relative of mine in a position to help small businesses, because I trust him, and am familiar with his track record. I could make a good case for his qualifications. You are supposed to put the best people forth for the job, and often that is someone you know. If she is a good choice, then a strong case can be made for that.

        1. It doesnโ€™t matter if he has no experience in that particular field. His expertise is in growing small businesses into big ones.

          Karen,
          That’s essentially the point I was making. I’ve worked in both the military and civilian sectors. In my opinion, the military develops Leader/managers and civilians develop Manager/leaders.

          In some fields, leadership positions would require experience in that industry. A CEO could do a great job on government procurement overhauls, contracts administration, and logistics.

          Perhaps this is picking nits, but you’re describing accumulated experience that would generally have been acquired by CEO candidates. They would not be expected to manage the procurement or contracting or logistics functions, but as a leader, they certainly would know what types of managers they would want in those positions. If the CEO is managing contracts, then his/her time spent micro-managing business units is going to distract them from the macro (strategic) functions of the organization.

          My objection is when that expands into plums for which they are not qualified and could do damage.

          Well yeah, that’s an obvious concern. Objectivity on qualifications however hasn’t been in vogue for quite sometime. If it were, we’d gut the legislative branch on the next election. There certainly wouldn’t be a 90% success rate on reelections. No, Democrats will rage against Ivanka’s selection for the same reason they loathe anything this administration is doing…Donald Trump. Of course there will be Republicans that won’t question the selection for exactly the opposite reason.

      2. Olly, I do have some hunch, which is not a lot, but some that President Trump out Jared in charge of the middle east as a semi-joke.

        We all know the middle eastern history and the grudges that date back….well, you know the rest.

        And you put your son-in-law in charge of that giant Lego tower? Good luck, Jared! It sounds like a set-up to me.

        I would still move ppl around in his entire administration like shuffleboard. I see lots of potentials, but folks need to be rearranged.

        Organization is my expertist, Btw, OCD ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜‰

        1. Additionally, learn to get along with ppl that disagree with you, and not just your family, e.g., Rex Tillerson was fine, John Kelly was fine…I don’t see why President Trump couldn’t just agree to disagree…

          Yes, men, are damaging to a leader. You need blunt, frank ppl, even if it hurts…

          1. WW33 – some men reach a level where they are not just arguing, they expect to get their way.

            1. Paul – I think that is kind of the problem. I’ve read enough about President Trump, his father, and his family clan, to understand where he comes from…

              I.e., getting his way from a very young age, money is the end-all-be-all.

              From the time he was young, Donald got what Donald wanted…this mentality in any person has difficultly with the word No.

              I assume he was flying in helicopters over the skyline of NYC when he was very young. Most cannot relate to such a lavish privileged lifestyle.

              In his own adulthood, as head of his private corporation, very few said No, if ever.

              Being President is just a teeny tiny bit different

          1. Paul – it is not. ๐Ÿ˜‚ Haha. I just go like this:

            dhiskfjfnfjeuowogjoska8285+$+2(hdiekfndkf

            Like a cat walking on a keyboard.

            Although, I always do this from my phone, so…

            1. WW33 – generally, I am not the grammar nazi, however you lofted that beach ball sized softball at me and I could not resist. ๐Ÿ˜‰

              1. Well, you hit a home run with it. ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜‰ I give myself an F in both grammar and spelling on here.

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