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Posted by on Jul 11, 2019 in Government, Immigration, Politics | 0 comments

The Entitled

It did not start with the current generation of Kushners and Trumps. Their parents and perhaps grandparents by their actions instilled the belief that they were special and entitled. Maybe it began with The Donald who was able to transfer from Fordham to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Whether or not his father made monetary donations to the University to ease his admission is unclear. But his performance at the Wharton School was far from outstanding even though Trump considers himself a “stable genius.” James Nolan, an admissions officer at the University in an interview said that he was not struck by Trump being particularly smart. In addition, admission to the Wharton School when Trump was applying was not really competitive with over half of applicants admitted. (The rate in 2019 was 7.4 percent.)

Trump was not listed in the top sixth of his class of 366 at Wharton and did not graduate with any kind of distinction. At best, he was an average student who attended classes when he had to and did not impress his peers. He only read what was necessary and did not manifest any intellectual curiosity. And of course he could not serve in the military when he graduated as he might get hurt, receiving five deferments because of bone spurs? What he did afterwards in terms of real estate development and his relationships with women reinforced the fact that he was entitled. According to various reports, he did not pay many of his subcontractors or did not pay them the full amount agreed upon. When he declared bankruptcy regarding his Atlantic City casinos, he was willing to leave his investors and the banks to take large losses while he walked away. His misogyny and entitlement in dealing with women were revealed in his Access Hollywood tapes, his payoffs to women with whom he was having affairs, and his divorces.

Then there were his actions while running for president and during his presidency, including his dealings with the Russians, his attempts to obstruct justice, his failure to release his taxes as had been automatic for previous candidates for the last half century. But he was entitled and didn’t have to do what everyone else had. And there has been his stonewalling and refusing to cooperate fully with the Mueller commission and refusing to allow members of his administration to testify before Congress. We could go on and on regarding the manifestations of his self-interest and entitlement.

Then we have Donald’s children and his son-in-law Jared Kushner as illustrations of entitlement. As the Trump brood neared their time of entry to college, their father began making donations to the University of Pennsylvania, though the amounts given are unknown. Don Jr started Penn in 1996, Ivanka in 2000. It is uncertain whether they would have gained entry without their father’s donations. Jared was admitted to Harvard after his father Charles, another real estate mogul, pledged $2.5 million to the school. Apparently, his GPA and SAT scores did not warrant his admission to Harvard, but his father’s money entitled him.

Since that time, Ivanka and Jared have led charmed, entitled lives. Jared entered the real estate business and in 2007 paid $1.8 billion for a commercial skyscraper 666 Fifth Avenue, a record price for a single building. Other real estate developers believed that Jared considerably overpaid and would be unable to support the loans. This turned out to be true, but entitled Jared was taken off the hook in 2018 by Brookfield Asset Management. They acquired a 99 year lease on the property, paying all 99 years rent up front while Jared was working for Donald Trump in Washington. And Ivanka, using her name as a brand, put out a line of clothing and accessories that initially seemed to be doing well, but then ran into trouble and was shut down in 2018 while Ivanka was also busy in Washington.

How Jared and Ivanka obtained these plum jobs in Washington is unclear, but may have had something to do with Ivanka’s father being the president. Against the recommendations of the intelligence agencies, Jared and Ivanka were both given security clearance and were allowed access to secret documents, Dad again easing the way. Now, they are both advisers to the president with Jared preparing peace plans for the Middle East and providing important advice to the president. This is without any background in government or particular preparation for his role. At the last G20 meeting, Ivanka hob-nobbed with various heads of state, being involved in policy discussions though the prime ministers, premiers, and presidents were shocked to see her there. But because Jared and Ivanka are entitled they can do virtually anything they want, making policy for the U.S. and giving the president advice. It’s great to be entitled and have wealth and power, deserved or not.

Resurrecting Democracy