Early in the Trump administration, optimistic liberals held out hope that the craven nepotism allowing Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner to land plum government gigs would at least allow the couple to serve as a countervailing force for good in Donald Trump’s White House. It didn’t take long to see that wasn’t going to happen.
Jared and Ivanka were either unable or unwilling to get in the way of Trump’s worst impulses, from the caging of children at the U.S.–Mexico border to his ban of transgender troops in the military. Now, a new book from journalist Vicky Ward makes the case that Donald Trump’s daughter and son-in-law haven’t just sat by idly as Trump has upended liberal democracy in the U.S., they’ve enabled him.
For Kushner Inc., out next week, Ward interviewed 220 people to tell the story of two rich kids who “climbed to positions of power by disregarding protocol and skirting the rules when they can,” according to the Times.
The book includes at least two stories about Ivanka and Jared that make them seem halfway sympathetic. When Jared was a student at Harvard, Ward reports, his father had a “business associate” regularly check in with him and report back to ensure he was “not dating non-Jews or doing drugs.” Ivanka, meanwhile, had no one paying attention to her at all:
When she went to tour Choate Rosemary Hall, the elite Connecticut boarding school where she would attend high school, Ms. Trump arrived in a white stretch limousine. But she emerged from the car all by herself. “No one was there with her,” said her tour guide, who remained anonymous in the book.
But the bulk of the book mainly focuses on Jared and Ivanka’s time in the White House and portrays them as opportunists and enablers, enriching themselves at the expense of the American taxpayer and embracing, not curtailing, President Trump’s bigotry.
Among the accusations in the book are that Jared and Ivanka tried to grab power that could not have conceivably belonged to them. They “wanted to control who could travel on trips funded by the State Department,” Ward reports. The couple also wanted free rein to fly on Air Force planes. When former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson denied the requests, the couple would grab Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to get access to a plane. Rich people don’t stay rich by spending their own money.
Ward also reports on Ivanka’s defense of her father after he praised the good people on “both sides” of the 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.
When Gary D. Cohn was considering resigning as the top White House economic adviser after President Trump blamed “both sides” in a deadly white nationalist protest in Charlottesville, Va., his first stop was a meeting with Mr. Trump’s children.
In a conversation in August 2017 with Ivanka Trump, the president’s eldest daughter and senior adviser, Mr. Cohn was shocked by her reaction to his concerns, according to a new book about Ms. Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner.
“My dad’s not a racist; he didn’t mean any of it,” Ms. Trump said of the president’s refusal to condemn white nationalists outright. Appearing to channel her father, she added, “That’s not what he said.”
It is, of course, what he said.
At one point, Ward reports, President Trump wanted to get rid of Jared and Ivanka, asking former chief of staff John Kelly to send them “back to New York.” In December, Kelly resigned and Jared and Ivanka are still in the White House.