Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Representative Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) have both expressed concern over “how much influence” President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, are beginning to have on the president’s policies, according to a libertarian politician from Australia, David Leyonhjelm.
According to Leyonhjelm, the two libertarian-leaning members of Congress expressed satisfaction with many things that Trump has done so far, such as his decision to cut back on government regulations and waste, but were displeased with his military strike on Syria. Leyonhjelm added that the two mentioned other actions of Trump’s that have dismayed them, including his decision to not abolish the Export-Import Bank, and his attack upon members of the House Freedom Caucus, such as Representatives Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Mark Sanford (R-S.C.).
Leyonhjelm said that Paul and Massie attributed much of Trump’s recent actions they disapprove of to the influence of Kushner and Ivanka, adding that some other unnamed persons described the two as “typical New York liberals.” One might recall the quip that Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) used during one of the early Republican presidential debates, in which he called some of Trump’s social positions examples of “New York values.” Of course, at the time, Cruz was trying to win the Iowa primary (which he did) and looking ahead to the southern primaries in states such as South Carolina.
Leyonhjelm added, “Another person who I’d better not name, said Trump himself doesn’t have an ideological bone in his body, so a great deal depends on who’s in his ear, who he’s taking advice from, and the concern was that his daughter and Kushner might be having a lot of influence on him.”
Not only is Ivanka thought to have greatly influenced her father to strike Syria after the alleged chemical attacks, but it is thought that Kushner and Ivanka have both advocated in favor of the Paris Climate Agreement. It was Ivanka who arranged a meeting between her father and former Vice President Al Gore, considered an apostle of the global-warming alarmist establishment. Politico has even reported that Ivanka “wants to make climate change … one of her signature issues,” and is in “the early stages of exploring how to use her spotlight to speak out on the issue.”
Jared Kushner, one of President Trump’s senior advisors, is close to Gary Cohn, a former president of Goldman Sachs, who has emerged as extremely influential with Trump. It has been reported that Cohn persuaded Trump to reverse himself on his intention to not reappoint Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen, and on his previous promise to axe the Export-Import Bank.
In her speech at the Republican National Convention in July of last year, Ivanka made it clear that she is not a Republican. “Like many of my fellow millennials, I do not consider myself categorically Republican or Democrat. More than party affiliation,” she stated, “I vote based on what I believe is right, for my family and for my country. Sometimes it’s a tough choice.”
Certainly, one would agree that constitutional conservatives have had a difficult time deciding between Democrats and Republicans in the last several presidential contests. After all, with choices such as Bush (any of the three) or Clinton, Dole or Clinton, McCain or Obama, and Romney or Obama, the voter who holds limited government and our Constitution in high regard has faced rather unhappy decisions.
But, that is not the type of “tough choice” Ivanka means. Despite her lamentations about “tough choices,” she did find a candidate in 2007 worthy of support when she gave $1,000 to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Then, in 2013, she and her husband hosted a lavish fundraiser for Democrat Cory Booker, a New Jersey Senate candidate, donating $40,000 to his campaign effort. One would think that a constitutional conservative would not find refraining from giving that kind of money to a liberal Democrat a tough choice — they just would not do it.
One candidate Ivanka did not vote for in the New York Republican primary last year was her own father. It was a closed primary, with only registered Republicans eligible to vote, and neither Ivanka nor her husband qualified.
In her speech at the Republican convention, Ivanka praised the “kindness and compassion that will enable him [Trump] to be the leader that this country needs.” Her choice of words should make a constitutional conservative anxious, considering that George H.W. Bush called for a “kinder and gentler America” during his 1988 campaign, and his son called for “compassionate conservatism” during his 2000 race.
One area in which Ivanka has reportedly attempted to influence her father is on the issue of abortion. According to media reports, she has asked her father to tone down his “rhetoric” on the issue. It is not known if this reflects her own views on the subject, or she simply thought it would be better to avoid the hot-button issue for strategic political reasons.
Bombing Syria, a country that has never attacked the United States, and will likely never do so, was an issue that Ivanka did care about, however. Her brother, Eric, explained, “Ivanka is the mother of three kids and she has influence. I’m sure she said: ‘Listen, this is horrible stuff.'”
Paul and Massie are not the only two conservatives with concerns about the liberal influences on President Trump. “We may have just as well had Jeb,” a disgusted Ann Coulter declared after the Syria strike. Coulter was a staunch Trump supporter from the very beginning of the last presidential campaign. So was Pat Buchanan, but after the Syria bombing, he bluntly asserted, “Trump’s missile attack was unconstitutional.”
Unfortunately, neither Buchanan nor Coulter has the ear of the president the way Ivanka and her husband do. On the other hand, Trump did play golf recently with Senator Rand Paul, an outing in which Paul had the ear of the president on healthcare. Hopefully, Trump will heed Paul’s advice.
Photo: AP Images