Her control and influence on the President is unprecedented. She commands a staff of nearly three dozen and is referred to as the first friend of Michelle and Barack Obama.
“Thanks to her proximity to the President and first lady, she has become, in the eyes of some close political observers, the ‘De-Facto’ President of the United States, a virtual co-president to Chief Executive Obama”, writes author Edward Klein.
She is given a 24-hr security detail by the Secret Service, using guards “round the clock” even while shopping, at the gym, or visiting friends back in Chicago as if she was not only a member of the Obama family, but the President himself.
Jonathan Alter, author of The Center Holds: Obama and his Enemies, writes that, “she regularly accompanies Obama on travels abroad and, although foreign policy was not a particular interest or responsibility of hers, she frequently takes one of the half-dozen seats alongside the president in bilateral meetings, which means one less seat for a policy expert.”
Yet, even after six years into the Obama presidency, “nobody knows precisely what Valerie Jarrett does in the White House”, notes Carol Felsenthal of Politico. “What exactly do her titles – Senior Advisor to the President, Assistant to the President in charge of the office of Intergovernmental Affairs, the office of Public Engagement, White House council on Women and Girls – mean?”
It means nothing more than the actual or perceived authority to influence key policy decisions, no matter her lack of credentials.
Felsenthal further writes that staffers feared her, but didn’t like or trust her. At meetings she say’s little or nothing, instead lingering afterwords to express her views directly to the President, creating anxiety for her underlings and insulting them by saying, “I don’t talk just to hear myself talking”. “White House staffers engaged in a nervous pastime of interpreting sighs, glances, cleared throats and even terms of endearment”, concludes Felsenthal.
Valerie Jarrett is the other power in the West Wing, notes Jo Becker of the New York Times. Jarrett was “the one who led the effort to include the broadest possible contraception coverage in the administrations healthcare overhaul” back in 2012.
Jarrett has a fiercely loyal following among those she backed for key positions throughout government, drawn mainly from a White House women’s network she helped build and nurture. The director of the Domestic Policy Council, for instance, previously worked for her, and she considers Kathleen Sebelius, the former disgraced Health and Human Services Secretary, among her good friends.
She was instrumental in the bridging of religious right and government mandate dictating the law under the Affordable Healthcare Act aka Obamacare.
Gay rights advocates consider Jarrett their “secret weapon” in the White House. She lead the charge on issues such as repealing the Military policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, which she considered discriminatory. As former Obama Chief Strategist David Axelrod puts it, “VJ told the President this was right and this is consistent with who you are”, so he pushed the agenda.
Pete Rouse, another senior Obama Adviser, recalled how Jarrett was able to manipulate the Immigration and Deportation issue as a civil rights issue masked in securing the Latino vote. Jarrett urged the President to use executive actions in order to stop the deportations of certain illegal immigrants who arrived as children under the DREAM Act.
While some advisers worried over the legality challenging a state such as Arizona with a tough immigration law, Jarrett saw it in a different light.
She argued that its central provision, requiring police to check the immigration status of people taken into custody, amounted to racial profiling. Racial profiling being a civil rights issue, VJ knew Obama was very well educated in this issue going back to his days as a community organizer in Chicago. Therefore, she “put the issue right in the President’s wheelhouse”, concludes Rouse and Jarrett once again fed Obama’s oversized ego to circumvent our immigration law.
Her overreaching tentacles extend much further than the West Wing as her influence has effectively shaped the Obama administration’s agenda from gay rights to Obamacare and even our immigration laws.
When Attorney General Eric Holder announced his resignation in September, Jarrett stated in an interview with Andrea Mitchell that she had “tears streaming down her face”. Jarrett further stated that she would “miss him on a very personal level” but will also be “leading the team to replace him”.
Holder was the first Attorney General to be held in contempt regarding the Fast and Furious gun running scandal and recently disclosed emails by Judicial Watch show that Jarrett was a key player. Jarrett was brought in to manage the fact that Holder lied to congress after the story broke by stating he had only “recently became aware” of the gun running operation. She coordinated Holder’s response and now is responsible for leading the team to replace him.
Its no wonder that the White House has chosen Loretta Lynch as their pick for the next Attorney General. Last Saturday, reports the Washington Post, she attended a reception at the Capitol Hill home of Robert Raben, a lobbyist and former DOJ official. Raben, we hear, hosted the likes of Holder and his wife, Sharon Malone as well as White House adviser Valerie Jarrett.
Its no stretch of the imagination to think that Jarrett, once again, influenced another White House decision.
When the political sparring over the border crisis intensified this past summer in Texas, it was Valerie Jarrett who wrote Texas Gov. Rick Perry inviting him to join Obama “for a meeting to discuss the situation on the border with faith leaders and local elected officials in Dallas”.
When Kansas Senator Pat Roberts participated in the Senate Finance Committee investigation into the IRS targeting of conservative political groups, he noted that the “targeting was driven from Valerie Jarrett’s office in the White House”. According to Sen. Roberts, “the effort was made by the majority, by the Democrats in the Congress, to simply end the investigation,” which he called a “whitewash”.
Furthermore, Roberts flat out states “I’m convinced that Valerie Jarrett was involved”.
Unfortunately, her involvement isn’t limited solely to domestic issues as she voiced her opinion and by virtue that of Obama’s regarding the importance of a “cease-fire” agreement between Gaza and Israel. While neglecting to mention the fact that the terrorist organization Hamas strategically launches attacks at Israel from Gaza, Jarrett stated that “Israeli strikes in Gaza were indefensible”.
Jarrett further took to lecturing the Israeli’s on CBS’ Face the Nation by declaring “you can’t condone the killing of all these innocent children”. To be clear, she wasn’t referencing the innocent children killed in Israel by Hamas or the fact that she was “frustrated” with Israel wanting to defend itself.
While the examples are virtually endless regarding the wide spectrum of issues influenced by Jarrett, one would never know how deep the Obama-Jarrett influence truly goes as she has effectively stayed behind the curtain.
This is in part due to the fear of retaliation she has created against anyone who speaks out against her and the failure of the press to properly investigate and criticize her for what her job truly represents. It is precisely because of the latter that we still to this day don’t understand who Barack Obama truly is.
Then again, in the words of Noam Scheiber, “Jarrett may be nothing less than a reflection of the most authentic version of Barack Obama himself”.