Imagine an alternate universe in which Jared Kushner had the agency and the character to answer the questions posed by AXIOS’s Jonathan Swan with absolute honesty. Instead of the laughably deceitful responses that Kushner gave to Swan, especially about whether he had ever seen Donald Trump do or say anything racist.
Kushner doesn’t have genuine candor in him, but in another world he could have said, “Of course my father-in-law is a racist. A racist and — let’s be frank — a rank, salivating sociopath. You’re asking me to confirm what has been fairly obvious for decades, and patently obvious since he became an Obama birther a decade ago?
“White men of my father-in-law’s generation, particularly those raised in the working-class cultures of Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island of the ’50s and ’60s, have racism in their bones. Listen to Travis Bickle‘s narration in Taxi Driver. Listen to that psychotic character played by Martin Scorsese in the back seat of Bickle’s cab when they’re looking up at that windowshade with the silhouettes. That kind of thinking was all over the place when my father-in-law was young. Hell, it was all over the place 30 years ago when he called for the death penalty for the Central Park Five. 20th Century New York City was throbbing with racism.
“Things are obviously different now in the blue cities and suburbs, but my father-in-law is nothing if not avaricious and opportunistic and practical-minded, and his main base of support consists of rural lowbrows and none-too-brights. Remember that woman in the red-T-shirt who told John McCain during the ’08 campaign that she thought Obama was an Arab? His core supporters are the dregs of society who want him to push back against the ‘other’, the non-white invaders, the immigrants, the multiculturals.
“C’mon, Jonathan…who is my father-in-law if not the Last Angry White Guy who’s stamping his feet and saying ‘no, no, no’ to the cultural and economic changes that the blues have embraced and run with over the last half-century and especially the last 20 or 25 years?
“The boomer-aged, Fox News-watching rurals see their white heritage…everything that this country used to be from the late ’40s to the early ’90s or thereabouts…they can feel it all slipping away. This and that old-fashioned notion of job security and homogenous communities…all that good-old-America stuff that Michael Moore has spoken of when describing the Michigan he knew as a kid.
“And my father-in-law’s only chance of electoral support is to appeal to these sad people. You can look at me cross-eyed and say you don’t approve, but that’s the cultural and mathematical reality.
“These slow-boaters — some call them bumblefucks — don’t care if my father-in-law is a fiendish autocrat and a submental sociopath. They don’t give a damn if he’s an American Mussolini. They just want him to protect their communities, save their bloodlines, and try and preserve at least a semblance of the America they once knew.”