Technically speaking, Jared Kushner lacks the political pedigree of a top adviser to a presidential candidate.
But when the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. recently wanted to meet with Donald Trump, the CEO of Kushner Companies was an intermediary of sorts.
As Trump’s son-in-law, Kushner has played an increasingly prominent role in the candidate’s campaign in recent months, even acting as a de facto campaign manager.
In recent months, Kushner has weighed in on Trump’s selection of a running mate, overseen the launch of an online fund-raising system, helped write Trump’s policy speeches and advocated for the dismissal of a controversial campaign manager, according to the New York Times.
Perhaps most significantly, Kushner is also working closely with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie – a top adviser to the Trump campaign who, as a former federal prosecutor, put Kushner’s father, Charles Kushner, in prison a decade ago.
According to the Times, Kusher’s connection to the candidate stems not only from his marriage to Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, but the fact that the candidate sees Kushner – who, like him was born to a successful and domineering real estate mogul – as a young version of himself. “My father looked at the deals Jared was doing and saw himself in those deals,” Ivanka Trump said.
Kushner eschewed presidential politics early on, and instead played the role of loyal son-in-law. A turning point came earlier this year, when Kushner advised Trump to deliver a pro-Israel speech in front of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a powerful lobbying group. In April, the New York Observer, which Kushner owns, endorsed Trump’s presidential bid.
Kushner’s sway became more evident in June, when the Trump campaign fired campaign manager Corey Lewandowski – a move Kushner had long advocated for.
Even more recently, Kushner has reportedly vetted potential running mates, weighed in on Trump’s policies, and fund-raising efforts. He’s been privy to high-level meetings, including ones between the Republican candidate and House speaker Paul Ryan, and reportedly spoke with Henry Kissinger about Trump’s foreign policy platform. Beyond that, he’s also spending less time minding the real estate shop, the Times reported.
Kushner’s role in the campaign clashes with his own and his family’s past support of Democratic politics, as The Real Deal reported in March. And the Times report, based on interviews with more than two dozen friends and colleagues, said Kushner’s role was an off-limits topic at Kushner Companies.
But Trump had plenty of praise for his son-in-law. “Jared is an amazing son-in-law and we are very close,” Trump told the Times in a statement. [NYT] – E.B. Solomont