Media-shy Jared Kushner opened his mouth and spoke before cameras as he greeted tech CEOs to the White House Monday.
‘Today we’ve assembled a very impressive group of leaders from the private sector and are putting them to work here today to work on some of the country’s biggest challenges that will make a very meaningful difference to a lot of its citizens,’ Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and a top White House adviser told the crowd, reading his remarks.
While Kushner is known for having outsized influence in the Trump White House, tasked with everything from modernizing ‘gov tech’ – which he talked about today – to tackling peace in the Middle East, he’s known as a man of few public statements.
So much, in fact, that when comedian Jimmy Fallon played Kushner on an episode of Saturday Night Live, the Tonight Show host portrayed Trump’s son-in-law as mute.
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HE SPEAKS: President Trump’s son-in-law and top White House aide Jared Kushner spoke at a meeting before tech CEOS on Monday
Jared Kushner gave introductory remarks at a meeting of tech CEOS assembled to talk about how to make the government’s IT infrastructure better
Reporters were briefly allowed in the room as Jared Kushner stepped up to the podium in the Indian Treaty Room in the Old Executive Office Building
When entering government, Jared Kushner said he thought a lot of the federal workforce would resist change, but he’s found that’s not the case
Jared Kushner made remarks as his wife, first daughter and White House aide Ivanka Trump looked on
Ivanka Trump (left, in blue) greets tech executives including Apple’s Tim Cook (center) at a meeting on the White House campus Monday
Apple’s Tim Cook (left) was spotted entering the Indian Treaty Room alongside IBM’s CEO Ginni Rometty (right)
PayPal founder Peter Thiel, who’s been a longtime supporter of President Trump from Silicon Valley, was among those who attended the meeting on White House grounds Monday
But today, with his wife Ivanka in the audience, Kushner stepped to the podium of the Indian Treaty Room in the Old Executive Office Building, and spoke.
He addressed top tech talent like Alphabet’s Eric Schmidt, IBM’s Ginni Rometty and Apple’s Tim Cook and explained he had brought the leaders together to ‘work to modernize the government’s technology infrastructure.’
PayPal founder Peter Thiel, the president’s most vocal Silicon Valley supporter, was also in the room.
Getting personal, Kushner said he thought when he entered government, he’d find a work force that resisted change.
‘So far I have found exactly the opposite,’ Kushner said, according to White House pool reports.
Kushner said his office has been ‘working with hundreds of talented civil servants.’
‘Together we have set ambitious goals and empowered interagency teams to tackle our objectives,’ Kushner continued. ‘It’s working and it’s very exciting.’
Ivanka Trump arrives at Monday’s gov tech summit, where her husband Jared Kushner delivered prepared remarks
Jared Kushner is seen outside his home Monday morning, after Father’s Day weekend, heading to another day of work at the White House
The president’s son-in-law pointed to some of the outdated technology the government still uses, from floppy disks at the Pentagon, to data systems that are ’39 to 56 years old,’ more senior than the 36-year-old Kushner.
‘Our goal here is simple. We are here to improve the day-to-day lives of the average citizen,’ Kushner said. ‘That’s a core promise and we are keeping it.’
‘Together we will unleash the creativity of the private sector to provide citizen services in a way that has never happened before,’ Kushner continued.
‘We will foster a new set of start-ups focused on gov tech and be a leader in the field making government more transparent and responsive to citizens’ needs,’ he added.
Kushner praised the Veterans Administration’s decision to move to a system of electronic health records, and said the VA would have another ‘very big’ announcement on Friday.
The top Trump aide added that he hoped to announce ‘a lot more very exciting successes’ in the following weeks.