The ever increasing roles of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner in the #Donald Trump Presidency may lead to comparison to the family links in the John F Kennedy Administration but the Oval Office that was given the nickname of Camelot was radically different from the current Administration.

Lack of experience.

The unorthodox and controversial start of the Trump Presidency did not surprise many as his lack of experience in either the government, diplomacy or the military were highlighted during his successful presidential campaign.

The entry of the President’s daughter Ivanka and her husband #jared kushner have precedents with the Kennedy Administration where Robert Kennedy was Attorney General for his brother John but it would be useful to show the experience both brothers brought to the White House in the early years of the 1960s.

John F. Kennedy

Unlike Donald Trump, President Kennedy brought into the White House high levels of academic achievement. The senior thesis he wrote while living in England during his father’s term as American Ambassador to the Court of Saint James became a bestselling book “While England slept” and he would also wrote “Profiles in courage” which won the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 1957.

Added to his academic achievements, he was also a decorated war hero having won the Navy and Marine Corps Medals as well as the Purple Heart in the Pacific War after the sinking of his patrol boat PT109. This incident would later be made into the film ‘PT109’.

After the war he entered politics and served in both the House and the Senate.

Thus he brought into the Oval Office years of academic and government experience, as well as his years in the military.

This contrasts greatly with the current occupant of the Oval Office whose only work experience was within the private sector where he had mixed success with six bankruptcies as well as his billions and also his role on the reality TV show ‘The Apprentice and one in the military’.

Robert Kennedy

John F. Kennedy’s brother also had navy experience during the war, although this was assisted by privileged positions due to his father’s intercession. However, after the war the future Attorney General carved a place for himself in Law.

Following his Law degree at Harvard he entered the Department of Justice where he became part of the Criminal Division and then served in the Senate Sub Committee of Investigations but resigned due to differences with Chairman Senator Joseph McCarty’s activities in hunting “communist sympathisers”.

Robert Kennedy then worked on a number of Senate Sub Committees on issues such as civil rights and organized crime which would then become the mainstays of his period as Attorney general. In this way he brought enormous firsthand experience to the position of Attorney General.

After his brother’s assassination Robert Kennedy was elected to the Senate where he stayed until his assassination in 1968 while he was campaigning for the White House.


The biographies of the two brothers are in marked contrast to the experience and skills that Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump or Jared Kushner brought to the White House.

John F and Robert Kennedy made mistakes in office and the Bay of Pigs would be only one of them, yet at the same time the Administration successfully founded the Peace Corps and was also instrumental in initiating the Alliance for Progress and the signing of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1963 with the Soviet Union and Great Britain.

While it is still too early to make final judgments of the Trump Presidency, the lack of solid experience only makes President Trump’s job harder as we have already seen.

We can only wonder when the Oval Office will begin choosing its candidates on solid experience in the relevant Departments, rather than personal and subjective decisions by the President. It would certainly make the running of the country much smoother.