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Jared Kushner Finally Speaks in Public, Advances a Running Joke

President Trump’s son-in-law delivers rare speech Monday about modernizing government’s technology system

It wasn’t what he said, but how he said it. Jared Kushner gave a rare speech at a summit of tech and business leaders Monday, but the topic of his talk has quickly taken a back seat to the more pressing news of the day: what, exactly, his voice sounds like.

Kushner, who is married to President Trump’s daughter Ivanka, has been a familiar presence around the White House since Trump’s inauguration in January, but Monday marked the first time the senior advisor spoke publicly in his role.

“It turns out that federal agencies collectively operate 6,100 data centers, the vast majority of which can be consolidated and migrated to the cloud. Something a lot of you know a lot about,” he said in a clip shared widely in newscasts and mocked on late night TV. “Many of our federal systems are decades old with our 10 oldest being between 39 and 56 years old. The Department of Defense, for example, still uses eight-inch floppy disks on some of its legacy systems.”

Twitter lit up shortly after his address to provide color commentary on Kushner’s rarely heard voice.

Kushner’s characteristic silence and blank stare have been central to comedic caricatures of him in his role at the White House.

In April, John Oliver did an entire segment of Last Week Tonight about Kushner and Ivanka, pointing out that no one at that point had ever heard the man speak, though he was clearly such an integral part of the administration’s decision-making.

“For someone with the amount of power that he has, have you ever heard him speak?” Oliver said, dumbfounded. “Seriously, what does his voice sound like? You don’t know, do you?”

Oliver then cut away to a bad voiceover of Kushner moving his lips, supposedly forming words, with Gilbert Gottfried’s characteristic brash voice bellowing over the clip.

And on Saturday Night Live this past season, Jimmy Fallon returned to portray Kushner as a mute, Ray-Ban-wearing schmuck bashfully batting away Trump’s praise.

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