Who is Jared Kushner? Donald Trump confidante and 'calming force'
As rumours continue to swirl this week about president-elect Donald Trump’s selections for senior White House and cabinet posts, an influential member of Trump’s inner circle has emerged as a key player in the transition process. A shadowy figure during the campaign, Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has reportedly been behind some of the future president’s most important appointments.
Republican strategist Cory Crowley told CTV’s Your Morning that the 35-year-old is believed to be his father-in-law’s close confidante and a “calming force” throughout the campaign.
Crowley said Kushner’s advice to Trump during the final weeks of the campaign turned out to be particularly helpful and could potentially land him an important advisory role in the White House.
Who exactly is Jared Kushner? CTVNews.ca has rounded up some quick facts about the future president’s favoured son-in-law.
- Kushner married Trump’s eldest daughter Ivanka Trump in a lavish ceremony at the Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey in October, 2009. Ivanka converted to Judaism so she could marry Kushner. The couple are raising their three young children together in the Orthodox Jewish faith.
- Kushner is the son of New York real estate mogul, Charles Kushner. He serves as the CEO of the family’s real estate and construction business, Kushner Companies, as well as publisher of the New York Observer, a Manhattan-based newspaper.
In 2005, his father was sentenced to two years in prison for tax evasion, making illegal campaign contributions and witness intimidation. The plea deal was negotiated by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie who was working as a federal prosecutor at the time.
There has been speculation that Kushner played a role in Christie’s demotion from the head of Trump’s transition team and advocated for vice president-elect Mike Pence over Christie as Trump’s running mate during the campaign. He is also said to be behind the ouster of some key allies of Christie in the transition team, including former Congressman Mike Rogers.
- Like his wife, Kushner had a privileged upbringing and attended Harvard University. Author and journalist Daniel Golden has suggested that Kushner was admitted to the elite school after his family donated millions of dollars to the institution. He was later granted a joint M.B.A and a law degree from New York University.
- During the summer, Kushner defended Trump against accusations of anti-Semitism during the campaign. He wrote an opinion piece in his own newspaper where he invoked his Jewish grandparents who survived the Holocaust and claimed that the worst Trump’s critics could say about him “is that he has been careless in retweeting imagery that can be interpreted as offensive.”
- When Trump met with President Barack Obama at the White House on Nov. 10, Kushner was seen strolling the grounds with Obama’s chief-of-staff Denis McDonough, provoking speculation that Kushner would be following his father-in-law to the White House. Trump’s three eldest children, including Ivanka, have maintained they will stay in New York to manage the family business while Trump is president.
Kushner has also said that he will return to his role in the private sector. However, reports that Trump has tried to obtain top security clearance for his son-in-law to attend presidential briefings, suggests Kushner may take on a more substantial role.
Crowley said Kushner will probably become a “special adviser” to the president because nepotism laws prevent him from serving in an official capacity. “When it comes to the executive office of the president, there’s great latitude for the president to put his own advisers in place,” he said.
With files from The Associated Press