On Sunday, The Washington Post reported that the White House will announce the launch of the Office of American Innovation on Monday. The office is designed to tackle government efficiencies and bureaucratic issues from a private-sector, business perspective. It will be led by Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who believes "the government should be run like a company."
According to the Post, the Office of American Innovation is viewed by the White House as a "SWAT team of strategic consultants" composed of individuals from the private sector who will advise the White House on a variety of issues. Among these are streamlining federal bureaucracy; modernizing governmental technology; developing American infrastructure projects; and revamping the Department of Veterans' Affairs, among others. According to The Hill, major leaders in the technology world will offer support and advice to the office and its internal team.
In leading the Office of American Innovation, Kushner, who now serves as a senior adviser to the President and assists him in developing both domestic and international policies, will now even further increase his influence in the West Wing. In an interview with The Washington Post over the weekend, Kushner described his vision for his new role as one that is transactional in nature.
We should have excellence in government. The government should be run like a great American company. Our hope is that we can achieve successes and efficiencies for our customers, who are the citizens.
The Post further expounded that Kushner views the office as a non-partisan, ideas-oriented team made up of successful members of both the business and non-profit communities.
Kushner's statements about his new role have drawn some criticism on social media, particularly for his characterization of Americans as "customers" and the U.S. government as a "company." Some users have indicated that they are not interested in a country being run like a private entity, while others have expressed fears around a potential privatization of government services. Indeed, the Post article indicated that, with the creation of the office, there is certainly a possibility that various government functions could become privatized or that existing government contracts could be transferred to different companies.
In addition to concerns about privatization, several users also commented on the increasing influence of Kushner in Trump's administration and expressed concern that Trump's son-in-law may be overly involved in too many aspects of the federal government's functions.
For their part, the White House and Kushner seem very hopeful about the prospects for the Office of American Innovation as a potentially legacy-making initiative. As the office launches and begins to take on initiatives, only time will tell if the concerns of social media users are warranted or if Trump and Kushner have fulfilled their goal of producing a positively impactful office to streamline federal government and successfully tackle pressing American issues.