early and often

Don’t Blame Ivanka and Jared, They (Silently) Renounced Trump

They still don’t know the meaning of “complicit.” Photo: Oliver Contreras/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Since the end of Donald Trump’s presidency, it seemed like Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner might have resigned themselves to their fate. The first children and White House advisers didn’t try to force themselves back into New York high society, they retired to Surfside, Florida, to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageously bitchy neighbors. The only products Ivanka has been promoting on Instagram are COVID vaccines and charitable donations to Ukrainians. The couples’ absence from Mar-a-Lago, even on Father’s Day, was noted in the press, but these reports did not include any thinly veiled quotes from the pair that attempted to rehabilitate their image.

As it turns out, the couple hasn’t changed one bit. In the most Javanka-y move imaginable, they are now distancing themselves from the last three months of the Trump administration, suggesting via an anonymously sourced news report that they always knew that whole insurrection business was wrong, but there was simply nothing they could do.

On Wednesday, the New York Times published a report titled, “How Jared Kushner Washed His Hands of Donald Trump Before Jan. 6.” It begins with the revelation that Kushner realized days before the rest of us that Trump had lost, according to sources privy to his middle-of-the-night conversations with his wife:

On Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, barely 24 hours after President Donald J. Trump claimed in the middle of the night that “frankly, we did win this election,” Jared Kushner woke up in his Kalorama mansion and announced to his wife that it was time to leave Washington. “We’re moving to Miami,” he said.

The election had not even been called for Joseph R. Biden Jr., but as Mr. Kushner later told the story to aides and associates, the White House’s young power couple felt no need to wait for the official results. They saw which way the votes were going and understood that, barring some unforeseen surprise, the president had lost his bid for a second term. Even if he refused to accept it himself.

“People close to” the couple say they never believed Trump’s lies about a stolen election, so they immediately began distancing themselves from the Trump administration — but not by raising public alarms or resigning, like many other White House officials. Instead, they just mentally checked out and let the crazies steer the ship of state:

Their decision to move on opened a vacuum around the president that was filled by conspiracy theorists like Rudolph W. Giuliani and Sidney Powell, who relayed to Mr. Trump farcically false stories of dead voters, stuffed ballot boxes, corrupted voting machines and foreign plots. Concluding that the president would not listen even to family members urging him to accept the results, Mr. Kushner told Mr. Trump that he would not be involved if Mr. Giuliani were in charge, according to people he confided in, effectively ceding the field to those who would try to overturn the election.

Kushner turned his attention to his much-derided effort to end the conflict in the Middle East, and soon proved he has a “hidden genius” for writing in addition to peacemaking:

While still in the White House, he began writing a memoir focused on Middle East peacemaking. In the weeks to come, as Mr. Trump would continue to insist that he would remain for a second term, Mr. Kushner set about chronicling the first. He even took an online MasterClass on how to write a book, taught by the prolific best-selling novelist James Patterson. In the course of a two-week stretch after the election, he secretly batted out 40,000 words of a first draft. The final version is set to be published in August.

And the couple started planning out their new life in Florida — though, of course, Ivanka had to feign some support for election subversion. She wouldn’t want to cause a scene!

While Mr. Trump huddled with Mr. Giuliani and others telling him that he could still win, Mr. Kushner and his wife began thinking about where they would live, what schools they could send their three children to and what business ventures they would pursue. They had to be discreet about it. The last thing they wanted to do was make it look as if they were moving on because that would produce headlines embarrassing to Mr. Trump. Indeed, Ivanka Trump would text her father’s top advisers that same day just after the election and prod them to “Keep the faith and the fight!”

So if the couple were passionately opposed to Trump’s election lies, why were they by his side on January 6, 2021? Well, according to the Times’ sources, Jared was “in the bathroom with the shower already running and about to jump in” when House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called, begging him to rush to the White House to calm the situation. Similarly, Ivanka only accompanied her father to his “Stop the Steal” rally in an attempt to keep things from getting out of hand:

Ivanka Trump had spent much of the day trying to keep her father from going too far. She had refused to address the rally on the Ellipse but at the last minute was so concerned by her father’s anger toward Mr. Pence that she decided to accompany him there in hopes of avoiding a worse clash. Over the following hours, as rioters rampaged through the Capitol, she ran up and down the stairs in the West Wing from her office to the Oval Office hoping to persuade her father to issue stronger statements calling off the attackers.

Of course, Javanka’s efforts appeal to the better angels of Trump’s nature failed during the Capitol riot, just they had so many times before. But with the couple’s testimony to the House January 6 panel airing publicly in the coming days, Kushner facing scrutiny for his Saudi Arabian business dealings, and his memoir hitting book stores in August, it’s important that we know they aren’t really to blame for the horrifying conclusion of the Trump campaign and administration, which they worked for from 2015 to January 20, 2021.

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Don’t Blame Ivanka & Jared, They (Silently) Renounced Trump