This is a post that deals not with politics but rather with superficiality, with impressions because those things will have a definite impact on the Trump Administration.
I don’t know either Jared Kushner or Steve Bannon. Until Trump won the primaries I’d never heard of either one of them. Now I understand there is an internal battle in the White House between the two. Bannon is a sort of isolationist and Kushner is a globalist. They are worlds apart in political philosophy I’m told.
In case you are unfamiliar with the two, the 36-year-old Kushner is a multi-millionaire real estate tycoon who is married to Ivanka Trump, the President’s daughter. He and Ivanka both occupy White House offices and both are advisors to the President.
63-year-old Steve Bannon is a former Wall Street trader whose latest enterprise was running the very conservative (otherwise known as alt right) Breitbart news organization. Breitbart has been associated with some very far right organizations that have been accused of being racist and anti-Semitic. Bannon joined the Trump Presidential Campaign in mid-August of last year as the campaign CEO.
News reports from several sources indicate there is a power struggle between the two
and they both have their supporters but my bet is on young Kushner for three reasons. Whether you like Donald Trump or not makes no difference he is a family man who seems to trust family advice above all else and Kushner is married to his daughter Ivanka, whom Trump idolizes. Strike one against Bannon. He’s not family.
Strike two against Bannon is that his former publication Breitbart News has been trashing Kushner and even Ivanka. You can’t trash the President’s daughter and son in law and expect to get away with it. Bannon may be learning that lesson a little late. The President’s family is out of bounds, Kushner knows that — Bannon is just learning. Reports indicate that Breitbart has told writers that the President’s family is now off limits. One has to wonder why they were targets in the first place.
There are some substantial differences between Bannon and Kushner. Let’s start with respect for the boss or, knowing your place. The next time you see one of those videos of people gathering in a room to meet with Trump watch the dynamics. Bannon can usually be seen somewhere around Trump and if he isn’t there, he is maneuvering his way to the boss’ location. Kushner, who is always present, sometimes cannot even be seen. He always makes sure the public spotlight is on his father in law, not on himself. Bannon is always pushing Bannon’s agenda, while Kushner is supporting Trump’s.
But, there’s a whole lot more. Donald Trump likes the world to know he is rich and that he surrounds himself with the finest of everything. He likes flaunting his wealth and he likes being surrounded by classy people, in many ways he is very superficial. You may remember the recent story of how the President chewed out Press Secretary Sean Spicer in front of other staffers for wearing an ill-fitting suit at one of his press briefings. You can bet the entire staff got a very clear message in that encounter. Trump demands that his people “look” good.
Which takes us to style — form over function, appearance over substance, impressions over intellect. Trump’s entire life has revolved around his pursuit of class, of respect by his peers and it has been noted that only gaining the Presidency has finally allowed him into those elite groups of the ultra rich and famous. That acceptance was hard fought and won. To Donald Trump style is important. In his world, how you look and what you have are often more important than who you are and what you’ve done.
It’s called superficiality and if you look at Kushner and Bannon side by side as Trump might, you’ll see a contrast as vivid as day and night. The young Kushner is tall, slender, well-coiffed, soft-spoken, confident, graceful in his movements and otherwise classy.
Bannon, by contrast, is aggressive, loud, overbearing and usually looks as though he came home late, slept in his clothes (he often wears two button-down collar shirts at the same time) overslept, skipped a morning shower and went back to work. He often needs a shave, his hair has the appearance of a man who just came in from a hurricane and his shoes look like he stepped on a land mine. If there is an absolute opposite to class, Steve Bannon is the poster child.
So, I’ve made the case for Kushner winning this battle which leaves us with the question, “What does this mean for the United States?” Frankly, I don’t know because ultimately it’s all up to Mr. Trump and he is hardly Predictable.
So, there you have my very superficial reasons for believing that in a power struggle between Bannon and Kushner, Kushner wins by a knockout in the first minute of the first round.
And from where I sit, that’s the truth.