Remember Jamal Khashoggi? The U.S. resident and Saudi dissident said to be kidnapped and dismembered via bone saw, reportedly on the order of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a grisly murder Donald Trump let the guy get away with even after Saudi Arabia admitted the killing was premeditated and the CIA separately concluded that MBS directed the whole thing? And that Trump bragged to Bob Woodward that he’d “saved [the crown prince’s] ass,” adding, “I was able to get Congress to leave him alone”? And that, according to The New York Times, it was former first son-in-law Jared Kushner who urged Trump to “stand by” MBS, arguing that the outrage—about a man being dismembered—would simply blow over? According to a new report, it appears young Kushner was handsomely compensated for his loyalty!
In a Times story detailing the many gifts the Trump administration received from foreign governments, and an inspector general’s investigation into a missing $5,800 bottle of Japanese whiskey given to Mike Pompeo (which, per the Times, Pompeo said he never received), a 22-karat gold coin given to another State Department official, and allegations that “Mr. Trump’s political appointees walked off with gift bags worth thousands of dollars that were meant for foreign leaders at the Group of 7 summit planned for Camp David in 2020,” comes this fun detail:
In addition, the Trump administration never disclosed that Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and a top White House adviser, received two swords and a dagger from the Saudis, although he paid $47,920 for them along with three other gifts in February, after he left office.
Obviously, this raises more questions than it answers. Because the gifts were paid for, and Kushner presumably retained possession of them, what special display case does he keep them in? Does he show them off to visitors, saying, “These are from my buddy MBS, you know, the guy who had a man chopped into tiny pieces”? And maybe most importantly, how many times a week do you think he takes the swords and dagger out to play with them, and how many times has Ivanka had to take him to the emergency room for stitches despite having told him on numerous occasions, “Jared, these are not toys”? Inquiring minds would like to know.
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Texas governor faces off with private businesses who want their employees to live
In one corner, you’ve got companies like Southwest and American Airlines, who don’t want their employees to die an easily preventable death. In the other, there’s Greg Abbott. Per Bloomberg:
International Business Machines Corp., American Airlines Group Inc. and Southwest Airlines Co. will follow President Joe Biden’s mandate requiring that employees be vaccinated against COVID-19, defying an order from the Texas governor blocking such actions. The decisions Tuesday set up an immediate challenge to Republican governor Greg Abbott by two of the state’s largest employers. Companies with business operations in Texas have been caught between Abbott’s decree and a White House measure that says federal contractors must require the shots.
Abbott’s move to counter the White House action came amid a national debate over vaccine mandates, which has engulfed corporate America as it tries to placate customers, employers, and regulators. Some large oil and gas companies with operations in Texas, such as Royal Dutch Shell Plc, said they were still evaluating the ban and others, including Valero Energy Corp., declined to comment. “No entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccination by any individual, including an employee or consumer,” Abbott said in his executive order Monday. He plans to put his ban before a special session of the state House and Senate, which would let the Republican-controlled legislature enshrine his executive order into law.