Australian libertarian politician David Leyonhjelm recently met with U.S. Senator Rand Paul and U.S. Representative Thomas Massie, two leading libertarian Republicans in Congress, during a trip to Washington.
According to the The Australian, “the libertarian Republicans [Leyonhjelm] met believed Mr Trump was doing a good job so far, but still had a lot to prove.”
Many American libertarian figures ultimately supported Trump’s presidential bid in 2016, including Paul, Massie, columnist Ilana Mercer, the Mises Institute’s Walter Block and Tom DiLorenzo, the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Myron Ebell, billionaires Peter Thiel and Andy Beal, political strategist Roger Stone and The Liberty Conservative’s own editor-in-chief Gavin Wax.
Since the election, the libertarian reception to the President’s policies has been mixed. Libertarians applauded Trump’s decision to cut back on regulations and his push against government waste, but were dismayed by his military strike on Syria, his attacks on the Freedom Caucus and his reversal on his campaign promises to replace Janet Yellen as Federal Reserve Chair, raise interest rates and abolish the Export-Import Bank.
Leyonhjelm went on to suggest that Paul and Massie had expressed concern about “how much influence” the President’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, were having within the administration.
“They were described by some of the people I met as ‘typical New York liberals’.”
“Another person who I’d better not name, said Trump himself doesn’t have an ideological bone in his body, so a great deal depends on who’s in his ear, who he’s taking advice from, and the concern was that his daughter and Kushner might be having a lot of influence on him.”
Many of Trump’s more moderate policies have been influenced by Kushner and his circle within the White House. For example, the President is said to have been convinced of the need for a strike on the Assad regime in Syria by Ivanka. Both Kushner and Ivanka are said to have lobbied the President to support the Paris climate agreement. Kushner is also closely aligned with former Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn, who is reportedly behind the administration’s recent shifts on the Fed and the Ex-Im Bank. Kushner, Ivanka and Cohn are all said to be registered members of the Democratic Party.
This policy shift has pitted Kushner and his allies against the White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, an ideological nationalist. Bannon has since been sidelined within the administration. Other rightist figures within the administration, such as Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and Senior Advisor to the President Stephen Miller, have attempted to avoid Bannon’s fate by courting Kushner and his network.