In rare public remarks, Trump son-in-law and top adviser spoke to top tech CEOs about modernizing the government' s technology infrastructure
In rare public remarks, President Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser, Jared Kushner, welcomed top technology company executives for a brainstorming session at the White House on Monday.
Kushner kicked off the White House “Technology Week” as part of the administration’s ongoing efforts to make progress on campaign promises.
The event was hosted by the White House Office of American Innovation and the American Technology Council, which is led by Kushner.
Monday’s event was billed as a brainstorming session to help modernize the federal government’s technology infrastructure and, according to Kushner, help bring “business sensibility” to the government.
“Many warned me bureaucracy would resist any change we tried to implement. So far I’ve found exactly the opposite, ” said Kushner. He added, “The goal is simple here, to improve the day-to-day lives of average citizens. That’s a core promise and we are keeping it.”
Technology giants like Apple CEO Tim Cook, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty were on hand to help “work on the country’s biggest challenges.”
Kushner applauded the work already done by some agencies to modernize decades-old federal systems by making the government “more transparent and responsive to citizens needs, ” including Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin’s work in moving the agency to electronic health records. Shulkin said the VA would adopt a commercial product used by the Pentagon, part of an effort to improve care for veterans and reduce wait times for medical appointments.
“Despite 16 years of failed efforts, the Trump administration got it done in less than five months, ” Kushner bragged.
He added that the federal government’s problems are “more than simply technical.”
“By modernizing systems, we will meaningfully improve the lives of Americans, ” Kushner predicted.
Kushner’s remarks come amid scrutiny over his financial ties to the Russian government and meetings he held in December with Russia’s ambassador. Kushner is also r eportedly considering a new lawyer to represent him in the federal investigation into Russian meddling of the 2016 election. His current lawyer, Jamie Gorelick, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller worked at the same firm before Mueller was named special counsel.
Kushner is now expected to depart for the Middle East after Monday’s events, traveling to Jerusalem and Ramallah to help advance peace talks in the region. He’s scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to talk about next steps in negotiating peace.