Episode 29: Jared Kushner Speaks for the First Time as Part of the Trump Administration

June 20th 2017

ATTN: Staff

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On Monday, White House senior advisor Jared Kushner gave his first public speech as a member of the Trump administration. And for much of the Internet, it was the first time they'd heard Kushner speak. It became an instant point of fascination—and general derision—on Twitter.

As the Washington Post pointed out, comedians have been poking fun of the up-until-now silent Kushner: Both John Oliver and "Saturday Night Live" took shots at him.

But why do we care?

Why did Twitter explode with mockery? Why were there so many pieces—including Sarah's favorite one from Jezebel—dedicated to this event? ATTN:'s Mike Vainisi breaks it down on this week's episode of "Got Your Attention": Kushner has an outsized amount of power in this administration. (John Oliver also made this point when asked, "For someone with the amount of power that he has, have you ever heard him speak?")

He's been given foreign policy tasks including brokering a peace deal in the middle east and working on U.S.-Mexico relations. (And he was photographed on the ground in Iraq, where he was at the invitation of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.) He was also named the head of the Office of American Innovation, which the Washington Post explained is "in charge of using the private sector to modernize the government, among other functions."

Yet, despite all of this power, you never see him on the Sunday political shows, stumping for his father-in-law, or making other public speeches.


He has also been at the center of scandals that have plagued the White House. In May, the Washington Post reported the Kushner was allegedly looking for a back channel of communication to Russia, according to "intercepts of Russian communications that were reviewed by U.S. officials." This month, it was reported that the special counsel appointed by the Justice Department to investigate allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, former FBI director Robert Mueller III, would be looking into Kushner's business dealings.

The staff also chats about Carrie Fisher's toxicology report, PornHub data about who watches gay porn, and political violence in America.

Podcast notes:

Read more about the stories we did (and didn't) talk about this week on "Got Your Attention."

  • We finally know what Jared Kushner's Voice sounds like.
  • Republicans want to speed up the health care vote through “reconciliation,” but there’s a catch. Reconciliation also requires the Senate to consider an unlimited number of amendments. Progressive groups want Democrats to “filibuster by amendment” and indefinitely delay the vote. 
  • After Sen. Kamala Harris was interrupted by male colleagues during two different hearings, here are some tips for women when they’re interrupted, via Quartz.
  • How to respectfully and constructively talk about Carrie Fisher’s toxicology report.
  • One of the creators of the hit TV show "Friends" responded to a mind-blowing fan theory about the origins of Pheoboe, specifically her days of being homeless.
  • The Cosby trial ended with the judge declaring a mistrial on Saturday morning. New York Magazine's Rebecca Traister wrote a great piece breaking down what this says about "power in America in 2017."
  • This Deadspin piece answers, once and for all, whether or not semen clogs drains. (It's also a really great breakdown of how to properly fact check.)
  • Malcolm Gladwell's podcast "Revisionist History" just began its second season. And the first episode had us revisiting the president's golf habits—and this Washington Post report.
  • A study of Pornhub data shows that a large chunk of gay porn viewers are women.
  • After the shooting that left members of capitol police, a senate staffer, and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) wounded, Esquire’s Charles Pierce wrote a piece called “When White People Realize American Politics Are Violent.”
  • Congress is considering a bill that’d help Attorney General Jeff Sessions expand the "War on Drugs."
  • Oregon officially guaranteed equal pay for men and women. People will now get paid equally not just regardless of sex, but also race, age, disability, and sexual orientation.

What is the "Got Your Attention" podcast?

If you've ever wondered how the staff pitch and select the stories that you read or watch on ATTN:, we're giving you an inside listen. ATTN: Media is excited to announce "Got Your Attention," a podcast where ATTN: staffers compete to have their pitches accepted by our host — while also unpacking some of the week's most important headlines.

The game is simple: Three ATTN: staff members—Senior Analyst Katie Fleeman, Senior Editor Sarah Gray, and Senior Social Trends Editor Omri Rolan—pitch their best stories to our host and Head of Editorial Mike Vainisi. If Mike picks their story, they get a point, and the four discuss the story.