You know how most sons-in-law try to ingratiate themselves with their wives’ parents by helping with a weekend project? A “good” son-in-law will cheerily agree to help lay sod in the back yard or assemble the new gas grill. Sometimes, it’s as simple as a quick run to the hardware store for leaf bags or offering to spruce up the Winnebago in preparation for “mom” and “dad’s” annual trek to Lake Wouldn’tWannaBU.
A good son-in-law doesn’t bristle if the in-laws show up unannounced every now and then on a Sunday afternoon. It’s a small price to pay to be married to the enchanting creature that is their daughter.
But what if, just spitballin’ here, your father-in-law asks you to come over Saturday morning but he doesn’t say why? You figure he probably wants you to go to Costco for fishing tackle and food samples (man, he loves those fried cheese sticks), but instead, when you arrive, he’s not even dressed and ready to go. You follow him into the den, he turns off Fox News (this is serious), turns to you and says: “Listen, kid, can you solve that whole crisis in the Middle East thing? I just found out that it’s bad over there. They’re fighting over land or something and it’s very, very not good. Can you make it great again by Monday? Because, when you’re done with that, I need you to fix the deficit. OK? Good talk.”
This is what it must be like to be Jared Kushner, who was no doubt smitten by the lovely Ivanka Trump many years ago, thinking at least her family would have less drama than his own, what with dad in prison for witness tampering, etc. Oh, how Jared must miss those lazy pre-election weekends at Mar-a-Lago with the missus. Now, before dinner’s over, he has somehow agreed to promise “Dad” he’ll make sure no child in America ever goes to bed hungry. Kidding. That never gets talked about.
While Jared Kushner no doubt wishes everyone would think he was just swapping borscht recipes at that meeting with a sketchy Russian bank bigwig in December, skeptics think there was more to it. A lot more. Reporters have pledged to dig deep into a possible Russian “secret channel” between Jared and Putin’s posse.
Perhaps the worst thing about being Jared Kushner is he can’t blow off steam about “Dad” with the fellas. It’s not like he can go to a pub and whine, “You think your father-in-law’s a pain? Mine wants me to reform the entire U.S. criminal justice system by a week from Tuesday.”
Jared Kushner probably misses simpler times when all he had to do to make his father-in-law happy was to keep his kids quiet and maybe hold Ivanka’s umbrella. Solve the country’s opioid epidemic? Waaaay harder.
Celia Rivenbark is an author and columnist who lives in Wilmington. Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.