Jared Kushner Hits the Campaign Trail

And shops at a Meijer in Michigan.

Image: Mike Kalasnick

The KUSHNER FAMILY is taking an Uber to buy water and other supplies at a big box retailer. They’ve accompanied TRUMP to Michigan, where he is holding a campaign style rally after a disaster week where he admitted to reporters he would’ve never hired JEFF SESSIONS if he knew he’d recuse himself from the Russia investigation. Some other reporters made it worse when they revealed he had been asking around about how to pardon people, including the KUSHNER FAMILY. And then SEAN SPICER resigned. JARED is listening to music (Mike & the Mechanics’ “In the Living Years”), while IVANKA is holding up the palm of her hand and showing her children which part of Michigan they are in. There is much crosstalk but IVANKA has just called something “uncouth.”

UBER DRIVER [out of nowhere]: I’m kind of the goofy one in my family. [UBER DRIVER turns around in his seat and shows IVANKA a photo of him and his siblings, all making silly faces at a family gathering.] Which one of you would you say is the goofy one?

IVANKA [not engaging]: Here will be fine. Thank you.

UBER DRIVER [pulling into the fire lane]: My mom used to take country line dancing at this Meijer. [The UBER DRIVER gestures to the big box retailer, a beloved Michigan institution, to his left.] Well, before it was a Meijer it used to just be like a regular strip mall. There was an eye doctor and, like, a little convenience store, and then, I guess you would call it a dance studio. But she took line dancing there.

IVANKA [to her children]: He’ll leave the meter running and we will wait for daddy inside the car.

UBER DRIVER [sarcastically]: Madam President, it doesn’t work like that.

KUSHNER DAUGHTER [looking up from her book, Angela’s Ashes]: Mommy, you said automation was taking their job. That’s a person.

KUSHNER SON [anxiously]: Mr. Steve said war will come when all the truck drivers realize that robots—

KUSHNER DAUGHTER [interrupting her brother, as her mother taught her]: He showed us a map of the United States. The most common job in a critical mass of states is truck driver.

IVANKA [calmly]: When did Mr. Steve teach you all this?

KUSHNER DAUGHTER [taking a piece of gum from the UBER DRIVER’s array and using the wrapper as a book mark]: When daddy goes on break.

IVANKA [curtly, to JARED]: Go. You’re not going to see anyone you know at a store in the middle of Michigan.

JARED heeds IVANKA and enters the store. The rows and rows of aisles, full of non-perishable food, clothing, patio furniture, automotive parts and lawn mowers, remind him that he never liked summer camp. A pit manifests in his stomach as he worries about not being able to call his mother until, well, whenever the counselors let him use the phone in the nurse’s office. A STORE CLERK, retirement age and wearing a Meijer apron, approaches JARED, and brings him back to Earth.

STORE CLERK [lisping slightly]: You’re the boy married to the President’s daughter. It’s an honor to meet you. I’m Ann. Is there anything I can help you with?

JARED: We’re having — [JARED can’t remember why he is in Michigan.] I can’t remember. We need something to drink and something to eat. Not much though, and the campaign will pay for it.

STORE CLERK [imagining what a rich person would like to eat]: We have a nice olive selection in our condiment aisle. Do you see the hot dog and hamburger buns right there? It’s down there.

JARED: Do you have Wasabi peas?

The STORE CLERK scrunches her forehead. She removes the walkie-talkie from her belt and asks her manager where Wasabi peas would be located. She explains that the boy who works for the President is asking, so if she could find out quickly, that would be very much appreciated.

STORE CLERK [to JARED]: If we do, they’d be in our snack aisle. Or maybe by the checkout.

JARED ventures off, aimlessly because he has no idea where the snack aisle or the checkout is. Ann, the STORE CLERK, calls her husband and lets him know that she met IVANKA’s husband, and that he seems very stressed, lost even. Her husband is honestly not surprised, but he is still happy he voted the way he did. Thirty minutes later, JARED makes his way to a self-checkout line, where the credit card reader confuses him. Ann, the STORE CLERK, again intervenes on his behalf.

STORE CLERK [motioning to JARED’s credit card]: Does your card have a chip?

JARED: Can I just PayPal you?

STORE CLERK: I’d have to ask my manager. [She radios her manager, again, who is getting a little sick of all the questions today.]

JARED [to himself]: Do you know how sometimes, just as you’re falling asleep, it feels like you’re falling like down a hole?

The STORE CLERK smiles because she does know what that feels like. Meanwhile, outside, IVANKA is waiting impatiently with the KUSHNER CHILDREN. They’re climbing up the ladder attached to an RV parked across four handicapped spaces. A Blue Lives Matter decal glistens in the summer sun. The RV starts itself and the KUSHNER CHILDREN, frightened, run to their mother. There’s uproarious laughter and then the fart noises a pair of flip flops makes when you first start wearing them. It’s STEVE BANNON.

STEVE BANNON [just kidding]: Get the fuck off Clarence Thomas’s RV!

IVANKA [curious, for once]: You got to Michigan the same time we did. When did you leave D.C.?

STEVE BANNON [unshowered]: As soon as I okayed the New York Times interview.

KUSHNER SON [pulling at IVANKA’s shirt]: Mr. Steve smells like morning.

IVANKA [beseechingly]: Steve, go take a shower or whatever you do to clean yourself.

Not about to start listening to what a Trump says, STEVE BANNON peels the lid off of a small can of food. He takes a deep whiff, pulls a plastic knife from his cargo shorts pocket, and digs out the meat.

STEVE BANNON [lying]: It’s paté. Try some.

KUSHNER SON [afraid]: Mommy, Mr. Steve is eating cat food.

IVANKA [gagging]: It is cat food.

STEVE BANNON [literally consuming cat food]: Paté arbitrage. It’s the only useful thing I learned at Goldman Sachs.

KUSHNER DAUGHTER [wisely]: You didn’t learn to eat cat food at Goldman.

STEVE BANNON: I learned how to arbitrage. [STEVE BANNON shows the label of the can. It reads Friskies Chicken Livers.] Much cheaper. And not subject to the same regulations as people food.

JARED emerges from the Meijer with a full shopping cart. He feels safe, especially after the STORE CLERK coached him through his first self-checkout.

JARED [proudly]: I also got us a pizza. [JARED tilts the Little Caesar’s box towards his family.] Ann said we could fry an egg and make some garlic spinach if we wanted to be a little gourmet about it. Here is a wok for the spinach. [JARED holds up a wok he bought with campaign funds.]

IVANKA [powerfully]: But did you get full-calorie beverages and party mix for the crowds at the rally?

[JARED points to a twelve pack of LaCroix sparkling water and a re-sealable bag of Wasabi peas.]

KUSHNER SON [standing on the end of the shopping cart]: Mommy, what’s “pamplemousse”?

IVANKA [consolidating power]: Steve, our Uber driver told us that he heard the Democrats’ new slogan is “Better skills, better jobs, better wages” and now he is voting for them in 2018.

STEVE BANNON [still eating cat food]: Bullshit.

[IVANKA and STEVE BANNON snicker evilly as JARED demonstrates to his children how he plans to stir fry the spinach in CLARENCE THOMAS’s RV. Then he’ll plop some on a slice and top with a fried egg. He makes a kiss with his hand like he is a chef. His children’s amusement validates him.]