Jared Kushner’s memoir of his time serving in his father-in-law’s administration, Breaking History, succeeded as an exercise in spreading nasty rumors about his enemies, but not so much as a literary work. The New York Times Book Review memorably excoriated it, saying, “Breaking History is an earnest and soulless — Kushner looks like a mannequin, and he writes like one — and peculiarly selective appraisal of Donald J. Trump’s term in office.”
But could Breaking History be yet another example of Kushner’s “hidden genius”? Maybe it was never meant to be a memoir normal people read to gain insight into historical events but was instead a cleverly disguised Trump money-making scheme.
Kushner’s “incredible book” is a No. 1 Times best seller, as his wife, Ivanka Trump, proclaimed in her last Truth Social post on September 1. Unsurprisingly, she did not point out that its No. 1 ranking on the hardcover nonfiction list was slightly marred by a dagger symbol, indicating that some booksellers had reported bulk orders: Three other top-15 entries that week were also marked with a dagger.
Who might have been hoarding copies of Breaking History?
This week Zach Everson of Forbes presented some compelling evidence that suggests it was Trump’s political committees. He reports that weeks after the memoir’s August 23 release, the Save America Joint Fundraising Committee, which raises money for two Trump PACs, paid the Books-A-Million chain $131,000 for “collateral:books,” according to a recent campaign filing with the Federal Election Commission. Then, on September 22, the fundraising committee made another $27,000 book purchase. He noted that Breaking History’s time on the list was fleeting, and it seemed to correspond with the PAC’s bulk purchases (though there may have been bulk purchases from other buyers too):
After “Breaking History” debuted at number one on the hardcover nonfiction list, it fell to second the following week, a spot it maintained the week of Save America’s first purchase. The following week it fell to 10th. Kushner’s book held that position for a second week, which covered the date Save America made its second purchase. “Breaking History” then fell off the list altogether.
Spokespeople for the PAC did not respond to Forbes’s queries about the book purchases, but we have a good idea of what they might be doing with them. In early October, both Jared and Ivanka personally informed everyone on Save America’s email list that if they contributed $75 or more, they’d get a signed copy of Breaking History. I received an email from “Jared Kushner” on October 3 with the subject “I just signed a copy of my new book for you.”
Then on October 6, I received an email from “Ivanka Trump” with the somewhat creepy subject “My husband wants to give you a gift.”
Kushner certainly isn’t the first person to be accused of inflating his book sales or to do so to benefit a political group — the Times dagger exists for a reason. But the report does add a sad twist to his new career as a best-selling author. First, it undercuts reporting that Javanka are trying to distance themselves from Trump post-presidency; perhaps the opportunities to market to MAGAland are just too lucrative. Second, if Kushner’s 512-page tome largely exists to raise money for his father-in-law’s PACs, he clearly worked too hard on it. As Trump himself has proven, he could have collected a few White House photos, scrawled some captions, and sold copies for $230 a pop.
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