President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, already tasked with, among other things, resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict, is taking on a few more responsibilities. The Washington Post reports that Kushner will lead the newly created White House Office of American Innovation, which is “staffed by former business executives” who have been given “sweeping authority to overhaul the federal bureaucracy.” Members of what the White House described as “a SWAT team of strategic consultants” include National Economic Council head and former Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn, former Goldman Sachs executive Dina Powell, former General Motors and Microsoft CFO Chris Liddell, and real-estate developer Reed Cordish. (Kushner’s wife, Ivanka Trump, who, despite her West Wing office, still has no formal role in the administration, also plans to “collaborate” with the team, because why not?) Unsurprisingly, the group is interested in “harvesting ideas from the business world and, potentially, privatizing some government functions.”
“We should have excellence in government,” Kushner told the Post. “The government should be run like a great American company. Our hope is that we can achieve successes and efficiencies for our customers, who are the citizens.” He said that his team plans to begin with “reimagining Veterans Affairs; modernizing the technology and data infrastructure of every federal department and agency; remodeling workforce-training programs; and developing ‘transformative projects’ under the banner of Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan.” In addition to all of that, the office will “focus on combating opioid abuse” with the help of Chris Christie, with whom Kushner has a complicated relationship.
It is, to say the least, an ambitious agenda for a 36-year-old whose primary work experience has been running his father’s real-estate company. Lucky for him, the business community seems eager to help out: According to the Post, Apple’s Tim Cook, Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Tesla’s Elon Musk, Salesforce’s Marc Benioff, Blackstone’s Stephen Schwarzman, and dozens of other “such leaders” have already met with Kushner’s office.