Robert F. Kennedy

Presidential Family Members And The American Presidency

The growing influence of Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, is a significant factor in Donald Trump’s approach to the Presidency.

His reliance on and loyalty to his daughter and son in law demonstrates the power of family.

Other Presidents have also utilized family members as follows:

John Adams relied on John Quincy Adams as Ambassador to Prussia.

Woodrow Wilson had his second wife, Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, conduct cabinet meetings after he had a stroke in October 1919.

Franklin D. Roosevelt relied on his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, for advice on so many domestic and foreign policy issues, and in his last two years, his daughter, Anna, also was available to assist him.

Dwight D. Eisenhower used his son John Eisenhower as a staff aide in the White House.

John F. Kennedy had the most prominent relative in his brother, Robert F. Kennedy, serving as Attorney General of the United States for the entire time of the Kennedy Presidency.

Lyndon B. Johnson leaned on his wife, Lady Bird Johnson, for much advice.

Ronald Reagan followed the advice of his wife, Nancy Reagan, on a host of issues, including developing a relationship with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Bill Clinton utilized his wife, Hillary Clinton, on a proposed national health care program, as well as a host of other issues.

Barack Obama capitalized on the advice of wife Michelle Obama, as they were a very close couple.

But notice how mostly it was First Ladies who were engaged in helping their husband, with only John Quincy Adams, Anna Roosevelt, John Eisenhower (children) and RFK (brother) as important aides to the President, and Ivanka and Jared are in many ways unique in their growing role, with only RFK being of an equal or greater significance.

The Growing Role Of Jared Kushner: Will It Make A Difference And Transform Donald Trump?

It is now clear that son in law Jared Kushner, and his wife, daughter Ivanka Trump, have a great and growing influence over Donald Trump, as the President is very loyal to family.

The question is whether it will make a difference and transform Donald Trump from a nasty, mean spirited right wing Republican, out to destroy the system, exactly what Stephen Bannon wants, or will move toward the center, and be able to appeal to moderate Republicans and some Democrats, as after all, Kushner was a Democrat in his politics that we know of, earlier in his life.

Kushner has been given great responsibility, to reorganize the federal government, as well as deal with the Middle East, and has also been engaged in traveling to Iraq this week, and the issue is whether he really has the qualifications and knowledge to be able to handle these responsibilities in a way that will lead to good results.

In other words, is Jared Kushner possibly the new Robert F. Kennedy, who had already had government experience before he became Attorney General under his brother, John F. Kennedy, and proved to be indispensable to his brother?

Is Jared Kushner the next Hillary Clinton, who took on health care reform unsuccessfully as First Lady under Bill Clinton, but was also one of the leading attorneys in America?

First impressions of Jared Kushner is that he is nothing special or impressive, more a spoiled rich kid who married into the right family, and had assets to start a New York City newspaper.

The future of America short term, and for the reputation of Donald Trump in history, may be based on the level of Jared Kushner’s success, which at the moment is much in doubt.

Nepotism Outlawed in 1960s After RFK, But Back In Full Swing With Ivanka And Jared Kushner

Robert F. Kennedy, the brother of President John F. Kennedy, was Attorney General to his brother, and briefly to Lyndon B. Johnson, from January 1961 to June 1964, and while he is perceived overall as a great cabinet member, the Congress passed legislation after this situation had ended, to prevent nepotism from being used in the future.

But now Ivanka Trump, the President’s daughter, and her husband, Jared Kushner, are working for the President, although they are unpaid.

That does not really matter, as it is simply against the spirit and substance of the nepotism law that they are influencing government policy.

It is just another of numerous examples of Donald Trump violating the law, and getting away with it.

There is a need to reassert that such family influence is not permitted, and this needs to be pursued expeditiously, as it cannot have a positive ending.

Can Bill Clinton Hold Government Position Under Hillary Clinton? NO, As Of 1964 Nepotism Law

The Hillary Clinton Presidential campaign is spreading information that former President Bill Clinton may be utilized by his wife in a government position if she wins the White House.

However, under the 1964 Nepotism Law, passed after Robert Kennedy left the government to run for the US Senate, it is illegal for a relative of any President to be in a public, paid position in the government. It is seen as a conflict of interest, so for instance, Jeb Bush, after leaving the Governorship of Florida in 2007, was not eligible to serve in the administration of his brother, George W. Bush.

RFK was Attorney General under his brother, President John F. Kennedy, but the Congress decided after the Kennedy Administration’s end, that such a situation should not happen again. Also, JFK’s brother in law, R. Sargent Shriver, served as head of the Peace Corps.

So Bill Clinton could be an unpaid advisor, but cannot go on the government payroll, even assuming he would agree to donate any government paycheck to charity, as RFK did under his brother.

It is clearly assumed that Bill Clinton would have an important background role, but again, it cannot be as a cabinet officer or an official part of the White House staff, unless Congress agrees to change the law, but that is highly unlikely in the present political climate, with a Republican Congress, and the likelihood that at least the House of Representatives will remain Republican after this year’s Presidential and Congressional elections!

Imagine A Three Way Presidential Race Of Three New Yorkers, And Possibly Two Of Them Of Reform Judaism Religion!

The scenario now exists that the Presidential Election Of 2016 could involve THREE New York residents competing against each other, an idea which seemed impossible to happen even with one candidate since the time of Thomas E. Dewey’s loss to Harry Truman in 1948.

We saw Nelson Rockefeller fail three times in the 1960s to be the GOP Presidential nominee; we saw Robert Kennedy’s tragic campaign come to an end in 1968 by assassination; we saw John Lindsay attempt a Presidential run in 1972 and fail badly; we saw Mario Cuomo flirt with the idea in 1992 and decide not to run; we saw Rudy Guiliani flop badly in 2008; we saw George Pataki also flirt with the idea of running, and when he finally did in 2015, totally flop; and of course, we saw Hillary Clinton fail to stop Barack Obama in 2008.

At the most, it looked like Hillary Clinton would run, as she has again in 2016, and would have a good chance to be the first New Yorker to run for President and actually be the nominee since 1948, but the idea that THREE candidates would all be from New York is amazing, considering the rise of the Sun Belt since World War II, and the slow decline of New York into political oblivion, although still even now the fourth largest state.

But now we have Clinton; we have Bernie Sanders, who is a Vermont Senator, but grew up in Brooklyn, and left for Vermont in 1968, but is still a New Yorker in the way he speaks; we have Donald Trump who is certainly a New Yorker through and through; and we have former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, originally from Boston, but a long time New Yorker, and Mayor from 2002-2014.

So the possibility of three New Yorkers running is very much alive, and if Sanders is the Democratic nominee and Bloomberg, alarmed by Sanders’ candidacy as well as Trump as a possible Republican nominee, does actually run on a third party or independent ticket, we would have two Reform Jews running along with Presbyterian Trump!

1968 Political Turmoil Over Vietnam Now Being Repeated Over Middle East Terrorism Threat In 2016

In 1968, the nation was bitterly divided over the war in Vietnam, and a major Presidential candidate, Robert F. Kennedy, became a victim of the turmoil over that, but also of the Middle East conflict, with the Six Day War of 1967 provoking the assassination of RFK by a Palestinian Arab immigrant, who happened to be Christian, but is often perceived as the beginning of the issue of Middle East terrorism come to America’s home front.

After the Paris terror attack by ISIL (ISIS), it is clear that we are going to become a major target for similar kinds of attacks in public places, and also, it has often been wonderment that we have not had suicide bombers in this country, and it is likely we will experience that as well.

The danger is that fear and reality will lead America to elect an extremist right wing candidate, such as Donald Trump or Ted Cruz to the Presidency, which would undermine American democracy and our basic civil liberties.

Ironically, the terrorists will have won if we end up going hysterical, and allow the domestic reforms and civil liberties advancements, which have been the hallmark of the past century, to be lost in the desire for security!

Do not be shocked that we might see a real threat to the life of the President or some Presidential candidate over the next year to the election, and it might be from Middle East terrorism, or could be from a right wing National Rifle Association fanatic who decides he must eliminate someone who is seen as the danger to the future of “traditional values” in an America under siege!

The Secret Service needs, immediately, more membership, more training, more preparation for what is likely to come!

What Beau Biden’s Death Shows About Joe Biden And The American People

The tragic and tormenting death of Beau Biden, the older son of Vice President Joe Biden, of a brain tumor at age 46, was not the first time that a President or Vice President has experienced the death of a family member while in office.

Presidents, including Franklin Pierce, Abraham Lincoln, Calvin Coolidge and John F. Kennedy had also had the death of children while in office.

Presidents, including John Tyler, Benjamin Harrison, and Woodrow Wilson had wives die while in office.

But Beau Biden, while not a child, had come to be highly respected as Delaware Attorney General, and serving in the Army National Guard during the Iraq War.

Beau Biden resembled his dad in appearance, and in many ways, in his zeal to serve in public life.

Beau Biden gained the emotional support of many Delaware citizens and anyone else he touched in his public life, as well as people he knew in his private life.

The public response to his death, with the potential for his future lost forever, hit many Americans very hard, including this author, who thought of the tragic death of others in public service in their 40s, all of whom were much more consequential than Biden was. The names of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Alexander Hamilton crossed his mind.

The question that arose is why this shock and deep mourning occurred, and the author came to the conclusion that a lot of the reaction was due not only to the good nature and great public service of Beau Biden, but the widespread love and emotional attachment of millions of Americans to Vice President Joe Biden himself.

Joe Biden is in his 43rd year of public service, and it is not only this author, but millions of others who love him, who respect him, who admire his sincerity, genuine nature, true concern and desire to do good deeds for his fellow Americans.

Joe Biden is a very rare public servant, and that is why there are still millions who hope he runs for President, knowing the odds are against him to win the nomination, were he to challenge his close friend and fellow member of the Obama Administration, former Secretary of State and New York Senator Hillary Clinton.

Those of us who love and admire Joe Biden know he would make a great President, but that he is one of many good people, past and present, who cannot, likely, be elected President of the United States, a distinguished list.

Instead, it now seems likely that Joe Biden will end his 44 years of public service in January 2017, with the total admiration and respect of millions. The loss of his beloved son, Beau, and his own sense that it might be wise to give his family time to share the rest of his time on earth at age 74, have certainly sobered any desire to fight for the White House.

In a sense, Joe Biden saw the eulogies and deep mourning that he will gain when, at some day in the future, he leaves us. The death of Beau Biden gave us that dress rehearsal!

47 Years Since The Assassination Of Robert F. Kennedy: The Might Have Beens!

Today, June 5, in the year 1968, 47 years ago, New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy, an active seeker of the Democratic Presidential nomination, had just won the California Primary over Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota.

It seemed as if RFK was on the way to the Democratic nomination, although Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who had not entered the primaries, had a strong backing from party bosses, labor unions, and city mayors and many Senators and Governors, so there was great uncertainty as to what might happen at the Chicago Convention at the end of August.

Tragically, however, history was transformed, as RFK was assassinated by a Palestinian Christian immigrant, Sirhan Sirhan, who was angered at RFK’s backing of Israel in the year earlier Six Day War, in which Israel won territory from Egypt, Jordan and Syria, with the war beginning precisely on that date in 1967!

There is still debate and speculation on the RFK murder, with some believing it was a conspiracy with more than one gunman involved.

In any case, RFK comes closest to any non Presidential nominee to be considered a likely winner of the Presidency, had he not been killed, so therefore the “Might Have Been” issue arises.

My forthcoming book on August 15, available with a 30 percent discount from Rowman Littlefield, with the indicated four digit code, devotes Chapter 10 to the Robert F. Kennedy assassination!

Another New York Governor Seeks The Presidency, But Demonstrates Decline Of New York Influence!

A “real” long shot nominee for the Republican Presidential nomination is former New York Governor George Pataki (1994-2006), who defeated Governor Mario Cuomo in a surprise upset, and then presided over the state at the time of the September 11 attacks, but took a back seat to NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani in its aftermath.

Pataki is a moderate Republican in a time when moderates are not in vogue, and he is NOT dynamic or charismatic. No one expects that this newly announced GOP candidate for the Presidency has any chance to be the Presidential nominee in 2016. He promoted environmental reforms; gay rights legislation; and believes in a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, all of which will disqualify him. He has not been in office since 2006, and would be halfway past 70 if he took the oath of office. No one gets excited at the thought of his candidacy. And being from New York, but being ignored, demonstrates how New York has declined in influence, particularly in the Republican Party.

New York was the state of other Republican Governors who were nominated for President, including Theodore Roosevelt, who won in 1898; Charles Evans Hughes, who won in 1906; Thomas E. Dewey, who lost in 1944 and 1948; and the failed candidacy of Nelson Rockefeller for the candidacy in 1960, 1964, and 1968.

It is also the state that elected Democrat Governor Martin Van Buren in 1828; Democrat Grover Cleveland in 1884; Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932; and failed Democratic nominees Horatio Seymour in 1868, Samuel Tilden in 1876, and Alfred E. Smith in 1928. Also, Democrat Governnor Averill Harriman tried for the nomination in 1956, and Governor Mario Cuomo flirted with the idea in 1988 and 1992, but chose not to run.

On the other hand, Democratic Senator Robert Kennedy was seeking the Presidency, when he was assassinated in 1968; and Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton, who sought and lost the Presidential nomination in 2008, and is now the front runner in the Democratic Party in 2016.

Bernie Sanders Reminds Many Of Robert Kennedy And Eugene McCarthy In 1968

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont announced his candidacy yesterday in Burlington, Vermont, in a more formal way than his original announcement several weeks ago.

It was an exciting event, with about 5,000 people showing up in the city that Sanders once governed as Mayor in the 1980s.

Sanders was inspiring in his rhetoric, and reminded many of the candidacies of Robert Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy in 1968, tragically ending in the assassination of RFK in June, 1968.

RFK and McCarthy gave people hope in so many ways, just as Sanders does that today, in a much more complex time, when we have billionaires dictating much of the agenda; when we are engaged in foreign turmoil in many ways worse than even the Vietnam War, as the threat to the homeland is real; and when there is cynicism similar to that in 1968.

Bernie Sanders is highly unlikely to have any real opportunity to be the Democratic nominee for President in 2016, but he can push Hillary Clinton to the left in ways that will benefit her and the nation, and help to lead to Democratic control of the Presidency and the US Senate, and gains in the House of Representatives.

Bernie Sanders can be the conscience of the nation, appealing to our better side and instincts, something sorely needed in a time of many people no longer motivated to get involved in politics. It is likely that he will have many people, who never had an interest in government, suddenly be galvanized into action, which is all to the good for the nation and its future!