Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has made his first public remarks as a White House adviser, calling on executives of technology companies to help modernise the government’s technology infrastructure.
“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,” Mr Kushner told the crowd, which included Alphabet's Eric Schmidt, IBM's Ginni Rometty and Apple's Tim Cook.
Even though Mr Kushner has taken on significant tasks at the White House, such as helping to pave the way for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, he is a man of few public words – a sharp contrast to his wife and first daughter Ivanka Trump, who has led roundtables discussions and often gives television interviews.
Mr Kushner’s lack of public comments has even inspired jokes, with comedian Jimmy Fallon playing him as mute on an episode of Saturday Night Live.
Speaking with Ms Trump in the audience, Mr Kushner said he was warned when he first took a job in the administration that he would find a bureaucracy resistant to change. “So far I have found exactly the opposite,” he said.
He added that his office is “working with hundreds of talented civil servants,” and that they “have set ambitious goals and empowered interagency teams to tackle our objectives.”
After listing examples of backward technology in government, such as the Pentagon’s use of floppy disks, he said their main goal is to improve the day-to-day lives of average citizens.
“Together we will unleash the creativity of the private sector to provide citizen services in a way that has never happened before. We will foster a new set of start ups focused on gov-tech and be a global leader in the field making government more transparent and responsive to citizens' needs.”