Speed Reads


John Oliver shatters your misplaced liberal hopes in Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner

President Trump is divisive, but "there are two White House figures who are widely admired," John Oliver said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight: "Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. They're like America's William and Kate, except in this case, both of them are attractive." Lots of Republicans gush about the power couple, "but for liberals, the popular assumption is that Jared and Ivanka will be moderating influences," saving the world from, say, nuclear armageddon. But is that fair to us, or them? Oliver asked two basic questions: "Is Ivanka really the moderating influence that people claim, and what in Jared's background justifies such a gigantic White House portfolio?"

Ivanka is an artfully constructed enigma, Oliver said, and her "ability to say nothing and yet consistently support her dad can actually apply to her political views as well." Her alleged support for things like gay rights and Planned Parenthood "all feel true, but there is not a lot of evidence," he said. In her 2009 book, for example, "she's pretty much telling you, to your face, not to trust any assumption that you're making about her. So it's possible that she's doing nothing to moderate her father."

Her husband is another matter. "It is not unusual for powerful men to give their son-in-laws do-nothing jobs, but leave it to Donald Trump, who can't even get nepotism right, to give his a do-everything job," Oliver said. "Jared's portfolio would be unmanageable for the smartest man on Earth, so is Jared Kushner the smartest man on Earth?" His reputation for deep thought seems to be based on the fact that he listens but rarely talks. In fact, Oliver asked, "have you ever heard him speak? Seriously, what does his voice sound like?" He played a clip of Kushner talking on TV in 2009, but cruelly had Gilbert Gottfried dub over his voice.

Based on publicly available information, Kushner doesn't appear to have any special qualifications other than not being Stephen Bannon, his marriage to the president's daughter, and being a "creepily silent 36-year-old heir to a real estate fortune," Oliver said. "And I know that all of this may seem like an evisceration of both Jared and Ivanka, but it is really not. I don't know enough about them to eviscerate them, just as you don't know enough about them to justify putting any real hopes in them." If Jared and Ivanka "are the reason you are sleeping at night," he added, "you should portably still be awake." Watch below — being warned that there is NSFW language and barely safe images of Donald Trump naked. Peter Weber