John Oliver has vociferously challenged the widely held assumption Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are moderating forces in the White House.
The comedian argued the frequently voiced belief the President’s eldest daughter and his son-in-law, who are now both unpaid White House advisors, had a great deal of clout behind the scenes had little concrete basis.
Oliver, who hosts US show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, argued that while President Trump is a divisive figure, the so-called power couple are “widely admired”.
“They are like America’s William and Kate, except, in this case, both of them are attractive," he opined.
“For liberals, the popular assumption is that Jared and Ivanka will be moderating influences,” he added. “Basically if Trump is thinking about pressing a button labelled ‘nuke earth’ they will, on behalf of all of us, guide his hand towards his button labelled ‘hey, maybe don’t’.”
Oliver said Ms Trump’s political promises lacked substance and she consistently failed to hold her father to account, stand up to his policies or influence his political direction. "The assumption that many of us have that she disagrees with him isn't actually based on much," he said.
The comedian took aim at Ms Trump, who is said to be the President’s “favourite” child, for making a show of supporting progressive issues, such as paid maternity leave and climate change, while not publicly challenging the Trump administration’s efforts to defund Planned Parenthood and sign an executive order overhauling Obama-era rules directed at tackling climate change.
Oliver argued Ms Trump was an expert at branding and being generally PR-polished. “And look. You may still like Ivanka - she can be appealing, and that’s frankly not by accident,” he noted. “She’s been trained in the art of Trump branding to be as vague and likeable as possible so that everyone can plausibly think that she shares their values - whether or not that’s actually true. And if that sounds like a harsh thing for me to say about her, I will point out that she’s basically shared that message in one of her books.”
He took a similarly disparaging view of her husband Mr Kushner, arguing the senior advisor, who is a former property developer, lacked sufficient qualifications to warrant his ever-growing presidential duties. To be clear, these stretch from addressing America’s opioid epidemic to working to broker a peace deal in the Middle East.
He asked: “And what in Jared’s background justifies such a gigantic White House portfolio?”
Oliver wound up the 20-plus minute segment by saying: “I know this might seem like an evisceration of Jared and Ivanka but it is not. I do not know enough about them to eviscerate them.”
“Just as you do not know enough about them to justify putting any real hopes in them because it is dangerous to think of them as a moderating influence as reassuring as that may feel ... If they are the reason you are sleeping at night, you should probably still be awake."