April 11, 2019
In the previous installments of this multipart review of Kushner, Inc. by Vicky Ward, we looked at the history of the Kushner Crime Family. We are now caught up to 2015, when Donald Trump announced he was running for president.
Initially, the Kushners didn’t believe there was any chance Trump was going to win, and were simply using the spotlight he was achieving as a candidate to promote themselves. Jared Kushner looked at it as an incredible “networking opportunity.”
During the early days of the campaign, the Kushners attempted to secure funding for 666 Fifth Avenue from a Qatari billionaire friend of Trump based on the premise that Trump would not win (the Qatari rightly understood that it would be bad optics to be involved with Kushner if Trump did win).
Furthermore, Charlie Kushner continually told people he didn’t have a chance to win, even while he was donating money to the campaign.
Ward gives the impression that Charlie genuinely did not think there was any chance Trump would win. This was of course the general thinking of everyone at the time.
From the beginning of the Trump campaign, Charlie brushed aside the possibility of a Trump victory with a standard joke. “I’ve already told Donald I will not be running as his VP,” was his line at meetings. But he and Seryl donated one hundred thousand dollars to a super PAC supporting Trump. In the summer of 2015, he and Seryl hosted an event for Trump at their house on the Jersey Shore, which was viewed by Kushner friends as mere lip service. Said one family friend, “What’s a hundred thousand dollars? What’s whatever he paid for the party?… Nothing. What’s the benefit of Donald owing him a favor? It’s like Avi Lebor once said: ‘Never miss a shiva call, because that’s when you get the most business done.’” Charlie’s true political loyalty, a former colleague felt, was to Bill and Hillary Clinton. Charlie would say, wistfully, “Hillary used to call me.” He would note fondly that, unlike Senator Chuck Schumer, Clinton had not returned or given away his donations when he was indicted.
However, as Trump’s chances seemed to increase as the campaign marched on, Jared took much more interest, and was always all up close with him going forward
Just so, as things began to become more serious, Jared and Ivanka’s New York City social circle began to become more judgmental of the couple for supporting this racist, sexist, homophobe who was seen likely to start marching the Jews off to death camps as soon as he achieved power.
As Trump’s rhetoric grew more and more divisive, and he kept pushing the notion that a wall should be built at the U.S.-Mexico border to keep Americans safe, the New York real estate community, which is largely Jewish, was aghast. One guest at Kushner’s thirty-fifth-birthday party told me, “We’re Jews.… It’s just as easy to say the Muslims can’t come to the United States because they’re gonna blow you up and the Mexicans are gonna rape you [as it is to say] the Jews are gonna steal all your money. And so, we’re not on the side of this sort of craziness, because we’re always the one being blamed for everything.” Trump, who has called a former female colleague “a fat elephant” and has allegedly used the N-word, has also been accused of condoning anti-Semitism. Multiple members of Trump’s social circle noted his reluctant acceptance of Ivanka’s conversion.
No one thought Kushner or Ivanka believed in Trump’s populist platform. “The two of them see this as a networking opportunity,” said a close associate.
The couple did not fully get on board with the campaign until Trump was the presumptive nominee of the GOP, at which point they went full in.
Ivanka successfully nagged her father into making Jared head of the campaign’s finances, which would serve as Jared’s first major role in what would become the Trump presidency.
Tom Barrack, a Middle Eastern money man who was involved with Jared Kushner, is the one who proposed the appointment of Paul Manafort to the campaign. Jared wanted someone to replace Corey Lewandowski, who he hated for constantly sidelining him (and probably also because he was a masculine white Polack and Jared has racial memories of being Holocausted by such individuals).
After Manafort took Corey’s position as head of the campaign, Corey stayed around for a while before Ivanka discovered he was leaking negative information on Jared to the press. Ward suggests that Ivanka took this information to Trump, and used it to ultimately force Corey off of the campaign.
In hindsight, the removal of Lewandowski may be the point at which everything went wrong. If he had stayed on and become Trump’s White House chief of staff, it is hard to imagine we’d be where we are now.
Kushner and the three eldest Trump children went to Trump and delivered an ultimatum. “It’s Corey or us.” According to Lewandowski, Trump phoned him three times on Father’s Day, June 19, 2016. He told Lewandowski: “Corey, [Kushner and the children] hate me because they hate you.” Lewandowski replied: “No, sir. They hate you all on your own, and I am just part of it.” The next morning, Lewandowski took the 5 A.M. shuttle from Boston to New York and prepared as usual for the Monday “family” meeting at 9:30 A.M. But a few minutes before it started, he was asked to come into a conference room, where he was confronted by Trump Organization attorney Michael Cohen, Trump Organization Chief Operating Officer Matthew Calamari, and Don Jr. Cohen did most of the talking, with Don Jr. chiming in. Lewandowski said he was fired without any explanation. While the meeting was happening and before Lewandowski had left the building, Manafort put out a press release announcing the news.
So, on June 20, Manafort was now nominally the campaign chief, but everyone knew Kushner was the one with budgetary power. He had asked for, and received, his own pot of money—and the candidate’s trust. Everyone knew Kushner was in charge.
There you have it.
Corey made the whole thing happen, and was run out at the behest of Kushner, who proceeded to basically destroy the campaign (it was later saved by Steve Bannon).
That was the first coup. And probably the only one that mattered.
Ironically, it was Jared Kushner who by sheer luck facilitated the first meeting of Donald Trump and Steve Bannon.
Kushner had been courting the wealthy conservative Mercer family as potential donors. They are the main backers of Breitbart News, which Bannon then served as the head of. And so it was that Bannon attended a meeting between Rebekah Mercer and Jared and Ivanka, which Trump happened to wander into.
Bannon was rightly unimpressed with the Kushner couple, but very impressed with Donald Trump.
There are a lot of little interesting backstories from the campaign included in the book, one of which is the story of the deleted anti-Semitic Hillary tweet – the one with the money and the Jewish star.
What we saw was that Trump deleted the tweet, then later posted a different version of it without the Star of David, then later said he never should have deleted it.
Apparently, Trump was out golfing when the story blew up, and so a communications guy decided to delete it. Trump was going to fire the guy over it, but Jared came to support him and said he agreed with the decision.
Kushner then went on to write an article in the Observer saying that Trump isn’t an anti-Semite, and whining about the suffering of his grandparent, who had to dig a tunnel to escape the Nazis and hide in a hole in the ground in the woods for nine months.
Not all of Kushner’s relatives appreciated his efforts to cover Trump’s pandering to white supremacists. Two of Kushner’s cousins complained on Facebook about his willingness to invoke their grandparents’ suffering to defend Trump. “Thank you Jared for using something sacred and special to the descendants of Joe and Rae Kushner to validate the sloppy manner in which you’ve handled this campaign,” wrote Jacob Schulder, whose ill health Charlie Kushner had scorned as “cancer, schmancer,” and whose father had been set up by Charlie with a prostitute. “Please don’t invoke our grandparents in vain just so you can sleep better at night. It is self-serving and disgusting.”
Yeah. Only invoke the grandparents when you’re trying to Jew over the goyim. Which is actually why Jared did it.
It would be Rebekah Mercer who would eventually demand Trump make Steve Bannon the chief executive of his campaign.
Apparently, the Mercers were big enough donors, and Trump was so fed up with Manafort, that he didn’t think twice. He met with Bannon the next day and appointed him.
That night, Bannon told Manafort he did not intend to fire him—as long as he did not interfere. “You have no authority, ever,” Bannon told him. “You just keep the office. We’ll pay your expenses. Just stay out of the way.”
Manafort said that was fine by him, and added: “Trump is going to fuck you, too.”
Bannon shrugged. “Hey, look, I’m not here to make friends.”
The following day, the New York Times published an article about Manafort’s Russian money, and Bannon had to call Jared Kushner who was hanging out on Democrat donor Jew David Geffen’s yacht in Croatia, and tell him to come home and fire Manafort. Trump wanted Jared to fire him because he’d hired him.
Bannon was also concerned about the optics of Jared and Ivanka being on a top Democrat donor’s yacht a few months before the election.
There is an interesting scene in the book when Trump went to see Jewish billionaire Shedon Adelson to talk about contributing to the campaign. Apparently, Adelson didn’t want Kushner involved. He allegedly said he viewed him as too young and inexperienced to be important – but he was the Jew running the campaign. A Jew who is personal friends with Bibi Netanyahu. So it almost sounds as though there was some personal animosity toward the Kushner family.
The fact that these Kushners do not get along with other Jews is a running theme of the book.
On the issue of Netanyahu – apparently, Trump did not like him. According to Bannon, they had had previous interactions, and had a personal clash. Trump did get along with him when he came to New York to meet with him and Jared.
Reading this part, I wondered if Trump’s reluctance to go to Israel was not as much a nod to people who dislike the US devotion to Israel as much as it was a result of his personal issues with Bibi.
One thing that was interesting in the book and not related to Kushner or Jews is that Trump was extremely stingy with his money throughout the campaign.
Trump was extremely irritated when, after the final presidential debate in October, his campaign finance chairman, Steven Mnuchin, told him he needed to loan the campaign ten million dollars and had him sign the wiring instructions on the spot. Trump read in The Washington Post that Parscale’s company, Giles-Parscale, had been paid more than twenty million dollars. (It was the conduit through which the campaign paid for advertising, but Trump thought it was Parscale’s fee.) Trump was so enraged, he paid an unexpected visit to Parscale on the fourteenth floor. “You are stealing my money! You are stealing my money!” he shouted. Parscale started stuttering, “I’m just a vendor!”
This theme comes up several times.
I’m not sure that Trump was simply being stingy with getting elected. I think it’s more likely that even after he’d gotten the nomination, he didn’t believe there was any way that he was going to win, so he felt the money would just be wasted.
My contention is that Trump never took any of this seriously, and never actually intended to win. I think the Trump campaign was the opposite of 4D Chess – it was all a gigantic accident. He ran because he wanted to create a spectacle around himself, and he had no idea just how unprepared the rest of the political system was for a person to do that.
For the Kushners, this whole thing just fell into their lap. Charlie had certainly never imagined that his ambitions for political power would be fulfilled through his son’s marriage to a shiksa. But that is exactly what happened.
What is incredible is that the way it happened was the only way it could have happened. If Trump had gone into this thing with some idea of what he was doing, with some kind of plan, there is no way he would have handed the whole thing over to Kushner. But the fact that he had no plan, and didn’t even imagine he was going to win, meant that there was a void for Kushner to swoop in and fill.
Bannon tried to do the same thing. But Kushner won.
In Part V of this review, we will look at the Kushner Crime Family triumphant.