Two media outlets on either side of the Hudson River are fighting over which state, New Jersey or New York, is to blame for White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner as the golden boy of the Trump administration gets mired in further controversy.
Last week the New York Times published an op-ed from Lucinda Rosenfeld called “Jared Kushner’s Entitlement Is New Jersey Born and Bred.” In the piece, coming after revelations last week about Kushner’s use of a private email account for White House business, Rosenfeld argued that it is the latest in a series of actions that show that Kushner “seems to operate as though the rules don’t apply to him.”
Why is this? According to Rosenfeld, it is due to Kushner’s upbringing in the Garden State.
No matter one’s personal glories, for those who call New Jersey home, and especially those who reside in Northern New Jersey, it’s difficult to forget that one is still not from “the city,” as the landmass across the river is known. Overcompensation tends to follow. Blind arrogance is an occasional byproduct.
Rosenfeld argues that coming from New Jersey herself, she could understand how Kushner’s upbringing so close to Manhattan could have changed his outlook. She also says that in New Jersey, “it’s also a place where dollar signs largely determine status and conspicuous consumption is celebrated as an inalienable right.”
However, this piece of pop psychology drew anger from NJ Advance Media’s Jessica Remo, who said New Jersey was “not amused” by the Times’ op-ed.
Noting that many New Jerseyans took to social media to complain about the piece — mainly the broad generalizations it makes about the state and its residents — Remo also distances the state from the actions of Kushner.
First Remo complained about the assumption that New Jersey lives in the shadow of Manhattan:
We aren’t sure where Rosenfeld got the giant brush with which she painted us, but let’s try this one more time with feeling: We don’t want to be New Yorkers,” she writes. “We aren’t the Jan Brady of states, full of “middle child” syndrome because we’re between New York and Philly.
She went on to ask why Rosenfeld was smearing New Jersey with association with Kushner, when presumably she would not smear New York with association with disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner:
Yes, Kushner grew up in posh Livingston, home of such, er, colorful figures like David Wildstein and Chris Christie. But since when is any state — or city — judged by its jerks? By those standards, shouldn’t we say New Yorkers are creepy pervs because Anthony Weiner lives there, or Californians are vapid because of the Kardashians?
Instead, Remo recommends that Kushner’s “dubious ethical behavior” is less to do with where he grew up and asks whether it has more to do with “his silver-spoon upbringing, his tax-evading father, the prestigious private school he attended, or that he works in the shark tank of tri-state area real estate?”
The rebuttal came just a day before further revelations — including the use of a third private email address by Kushner and Ivanka Trump — were reported in the media, suggesting that the fight over who is “responsible” for Kushner is likely to continue.
Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY