The front page of Tuesday’s New York Times features a profile of a young man “with no government experience, no political background, and no official title in the Trump campaign” who nevertheless is seen as Trump’s de facto campaign manager: the candidate’s son-in-law.
The profile discusses Kushner’s role as Trump’s “fixer” and “gatekeeper”; his complicated relationship with Chris Christie, who put his father in prison; and the fact that he is something of a fish out of water—“many of his friends and co-workers are socially liberal Democrats who are horrified by the Trump campaign.” But the real takeaway may be Kushner’s total lack of experience in government or in electoral politics. He is in the position he is in because of his pre-existing relationship to Trump, not necessarily because he has shown a particular aptitude for politics. (Hope Hicks, Trump’s 27-year-old press secretary, is similar in this regard.)
Trump’s reliance on non-traditional staffers reinforces the idea that he is a non-traditional candidate running a non-traditional campaign, but it mostly looks like a mix of nepotism and mistrust of people outside his immediate circle. And there are growing signs that keeping it in the family is costing Trump dearly. Kushner may have helped Trump with hires and speeches, but the campaign is still underfunded and understaffed. And as we saw with Trump’s use of an anti-Semitic meme over the long weekend, the staff he does have is clearly over its head.
Of course, there’s another explanation for why Trump’s staff is so inexperienced: No one else wants to work for what looks like a losing campaign.