Annotation — April 6, 2017, 6:10 pm

Dressed to Kill

Jared Kushner goes to Iraq

Kushner photo

Courtesy Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Flickr

1: Sometimes it’s difficult to pack for a business trip. The destination offers clues—bring a bathing suit to Los Angeles, a chic scarf to Paris, cab money to Beijing—but you never know exactly where clients will take you. Jared Kushner, a dimple-chinned boy of thirty-six, recently moved to Washington from Park Avenue, and brought along his father-in-law, Donald Trump. Kushner’s new digs came with a new title: senior adviser to the president. The Washington Post gave him another, “shadow secretary of state,” and his colleague Stephen Bannon has called him a “cuck”—as in “cuckservative,” a racially charged swipe against one’s credibility as a right-winger. On Monday, when President Trump sent the variously designated Kushner on a trip to Iraq—before the real secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, had flown out—perhaps he had not yet organized his closet. No problem. He grabbed a few staples and tossed them in his suitcase, including this navy blazer.

2: At first, the Trump Administration wished to keep Kushner’s excursion on the down low, for the sake of security. But word got out while he was on the plane (the White House violated protocol by confirming that he was on the trip, though at the time he was still en route), so it’s a good thing someone thought to carry along this tasteful bulletproof vest. It is tan and well fitting, with Kushner’s name on it. It serves nicely to protect him from all sorts of scary things that one might find on a visit with U.S. forces to learn about their campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. It will not protect him from sarin, a chemical weapon that is twenty-six times deadlier than cyanide, which Bashar al-Assad just sprayed all over Idlib province, killing as many as a hundred people, including children.

3: “If you can’t produce peace in the Middle East, nobody can,” Trump told Kushner in a room full of supporters in January. A tall order, so this trip would have to count. After Kushner landed, he went to meet with the Iraqi prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, and there was much to discuss. Kushner was raised in Livingston, New Jersey, and became a member of the Fly Club at Harvard; his father was a real estate developer and felon. Abadi’s family was exiled from Baghdad, he studied the technology of rapid transit, and his father was a doctor who died thousands of miles from home. Later, Kushner headed off to see some guys with guns.

4: About a week before this trip, the Pentagon admitted that an American air strike in Mosul, Iraq, likely caused the death of some 200 civilians. Around the same time, about 300 Army paratroopers were dispatched to Mosul, and 400 Marines were sent to northern Syria. These deployments were not announced in advance, as had been the practice of the Obama Administration, and a spokesperson for the Pentagon said that this was in order to deliver on Trump’s promise to “maintain tactical surprise.” In the East Room of the White House, Trump said, “We’re doing very well in Iraq.” He added, “I just wanted to let everyone know.”

5: A thing that many people know about Iraq is that it is hot, dry, and sunny. The rainless season is just beginning. Kushner wisely decided to wear sunglasses. These are wayfarers, available at most Sunglass Huts for around $200. When Kushner has the sunglasses on, it’s hard to read his eyes. In this, he may be taking a cue from Tillerson, the man he’s shadowing (remember him?); the Washington Post reported that “many career diplomats say they still have not met him, and some have been instructed not to speak to him directly—or even make eye contact.” Both men are copying Anna Wintour, who has not demonstrated herself to be a fan of the Trump Administration but does want Melania for Vogue.

 

Share
Single Page

More from Betsy Morais:

Annotation, Art August 29, 2017, 1:24 pm

Trumpeter Storm

Donald and Melania Trump go to Texas. 

Context May 2, 2017, 4:31 pm

The Moderator in Manila

What the Trumps are building in the Philippines

Art, Caption March 24, 2017, 4:52 pm

Ups and Downs

Get access to 167 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

November 2017

Preaching to The Choir

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Monumental Error

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Star Search

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Pushing the Limit

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Bumpy Ride

Bad Dog

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Pushing the Limit·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In the early Eighties, Andy King, the coach of the Seawolves, a swim club in Danville, California, instructed Debra Denithorne, aged twelve, to do doubles — to practice in the morning and the afternoon. King told Denithorne’s parents that he saw in her the potential to receive a college scholarship, and even to compete in the Olympics. Tall swimmers have an advantage in the water, and by the time Denithorne turned thirteen, she was five foot eight. She dropped soccer and a religious group to spend more time at the pool.

Illustration by Shonagh Rae
Article
Star Search·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On December 3, 2016, less than a month after Donald Trump was elected president, Amanda Litman sat alone on the porch of a bungalow in Costa Rica, thinking about the future of the Democratic Party. As Hillary Clinton’s director of email marketing, Litman raised $180 million and recruited 500,000 volunteers over the course of the campaign. She had arrived at the Javits Center on Election Night, arms full of cheap beer for the campaign staff, minutes before the pundits on TV announced that Clinton had lost Wisconsin. Later that night, on her cab ride home to Brooklyn, Litman asked the driver to pull over so she could throw up.

Illustration by Taylor Callery
Article
Monumental Error·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In 1899, the art critic Layton Crippen complained in the New York Times that private donors and committees had been permitted to run amok, erecting all across the city a large number of “painfully ugly monuments.” The very worst statues had been dumped in Central Park. “The sculptures go as far toward spoiling the Park as it is possible to spoil it,” he wrote. Even worse, he lamented, no organization had “power of removal” to correct the damage that was being done.

Illustration by Steve Brodner
Article
Bumpy Ride·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

One sunny winter afternoon in western Michigan, I took a ride with Leon Slater, a slight sixty-four-year-old man with a neatly trimmed white beard and intense eyes behind his spectacles. He wore a faded blue baseball cap, so formed to his head that it seemed he slept with it on. Brickyard Road, the street in front of Slater’s home, was a mess of soupy dirt and water-filled craters. The muffler of his mud-splattered maroon pickup was loose, and exhaust fumes choked the cab. He gripped the wheel with hands leathery not from age but from decades moving earth with big machines for a living. What followed was a tooth-jarring tour of Muskegon County’s rural roads, which looked as though they’d been carpet-bombed.

Photograph by David Emitt Adams
Article
Bad Dog·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Abby was a breech birth but in the thirty-one years since then most everything has been pretty smooth. Sweet kid, not a lot of trouble. None of them were. Jack and Stevie set a good example, and she followed. Top grades, all the way through. Got on well with others but took her share of meanness here and there, so she stayed thoughtful and kind. There were a few curfew or partying things and some boys before she was ready, and there was one time on a school trip to Chicago that she and some other kids got caught smoking crack cocaine, but that was so weird it almost proved the rule. No big hiccups, master’s in ecology, good state job that lets her do half time but keep benefits while Rose is little.

Illustration by Katherine Streeter

Number of cast members of the movie Predator who have run for governor:

3

A Georgia Tech engineer created software that endows unmanned aerial drones with a sense of guilt.

Roy Moore, a 70-year-old lawyer and Republican candidate for the US Senate who once accidentally stabbed himself with a murder weapon while prosecuting a case in an Alabama courtroom, was accused of having sexually assaulted two women, Leigh Corfman and Beverly Young Nelson, while he was an assistant district attorney in his thirties and they were 14 and 16 years old, respectively.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Report — From the June 2013 issue

How to Make Your Own AR-15

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

By

"Gun owners have long been the hypochondriacs of American politics. Over the past twenty years, the gun-rights movement has won just about every battle it has fought; states have passed at least a hundred laws loosening gun restrictions since President Obama took office. Yet the National Rifle Association has continued to insist that government confiscation of privately owned firearms is nigh. The NRA’s alarmism helped maintain an active membership, but the strategy was risky: sooner or later, gun guys might have realized that they’d been had. Then came the shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, followed swiftly by the nightmare the NRA had been promising for decades: a dedicated push at every level of government for new gun laws. The gun-rights movement was now that most insufferable of species: a hypochondriac taken suddenly, seriously ill."

Subscribe Today