By Javad Heirannia

Trump gives special prominence to his family and friends: Daniel Pipes

May 27, 2017 - 13:48

TEHRAN - Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum, says Donald Trump “gives a special prominence to his family and his personal friends” in his administration.

In an interview with the Tehran Times, Pipes also says, “Trump is the unusual American politician who can largely do whatever he wants.”

Following is the full text of the interview:

Q: What persons and interest groups have the most influence on Trump?

A: It is said that there are three political parties in the United States: Democrats, Republicans, and the Trump party. Trump is the unusual American politician who can largely do whatever he wants. That said, he cares intensely about the views of two groups of people: the small one of fellow New York City business leaders and the large one of his voters. So, they are the effective interest groups. 

Q: Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller were initially called the persons who influence Trump’s decisions. Then, speculation focused on Trump’s son–in-law, Jared Kushner. How does Kushner affect Trump’s decisions?

A: Again, and unusually, Trump gives a special prominence to his family and his personal friends, who have a much larger role in his administration than is normally the case for a U.S. president. However, Kushner has not given interviews or written on key issues, so we can only guess at his views. 

Q: Who are the people on the backstage of determining Trump’s foreign policy, especially his Middle East policies? 

A: You are asking the questions all Washington is asking. Tillerson at state hardly says anything. McMaster at the National Security Council is discreet. Kushner, as noted above, is an unknown. Nikki Haley at the United Nations seems to report to no one.

Q: Which think tanks have effect on Trump’s foreign policy?

A: A good question for a conventional president but in this case, there seem to be none, at least so far. The Heritage Foundation has a major role domestically but not in foreign policy. Perhaps a think tank or two will emerge with time.

Q: How effective is the Saudi lobby in influencing Trump’s foreign policy?

A: At this point, it appears that he is eager for a strong alliance with Riyadh, in part against ISIS, in part against the Islamic Republic of Iran. 


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