Editor’s Note: Peter Bergen is CNN’s national security analyst, a vice president at New America and a professor of practice at Arizona State University. He is the editor of the Coronavirus Daily Brief and author of the new book “Trump and His Generals: The Cost of Chaos.” The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion articles at CNN.
Jared Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, traveled to the Trump golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, with their three children for the first night of Passover on April 8, according to The New York Times
In so doing, they ignored federal guidelines.
President Donald Trump’s much-vaunted coronavirus guidelines recommend against “discretionary travel.”
Kushner and Trump also seem to have ignored Washington, DC’s Mayor Muriel Bowser’s stay-at-home order, which was issued March 30 and ordered residents of DC, which include the couple, to stay at home unless they are performing “essential activities” such as “obtaining medical care” or are performing “essential governmental functions” or “allowable recreational activities” such as “walking, hiking, running, dog-walking…”
It’s hard to imagine that a family visit to a New Jersey golf club falls into these categories.
The DC stay-at-home order also says that “willfully” violating it is a misdemeanor subject to a fine not exceeding $5,000, or imprisonment for not more than three months, or both.
The hypocrisy of the Kushner and Trump’s behavior is breathtaking.
Kushner has now positioned himself as the overall czar of the coronavirus relief effort. Just like his dismal peace-making efforts in the Middle East, Kushner has added another layer of confusion to the muddled White House coronavirus response by, for example, promoting the speedy development of drive-thru nationwide testing sites that still haven’t materialized.
Meanwhile Ivanka Trump, a White House adviser, has positioned herself as an avatar of social distancing, telling her 8.5 million followers on Twitter on April 12, “There’s no substitute for social distancing.”
In recent days, when talking about reopening the country, President Trump has said his authority to tell the 50 governors in the United States what to do is “total” (Trump later backtracked on Tuesday, saying that “The governors are going to be running their individual states.”) and has also threatened to adjourn Congress – a provision of the Constitution that has never been used – so that he can push through several of his nominations to fill different federal agencies.
The French absolute monarch Louis XIV famously observed “L’état, c’est moi:” I am the state. The Trump-Kushner clan has reworked this as “L’état, c’est nous:” We are the state.
We don’t live in a monarchy in the United States and it’s long past time for Prince Jared and Princess Ivanka to rejoin the private sector.
Of course, with King Donald in the White House, the likelihood of that happening is very low, as the only constant of the consistently inconsistent Trump is that he will fire pretty much everyone in his orbit, but not members of his own family, no matter how feckless they are.