Kushner, Inc review: Jared, Ivanka Trump and the rise of the American kakistocracy

Jared Kushner looks at Donald Trump during a cabinet meeting in February.
Jared Kushner looks at Donald Trump during a cabinet meeting in February. Photograph: UPI/Barcroft Images

Like Donald Trump, Americans are displeased with Jared Kushner, the president’s squeaky sounding son-in-law. As the reality that Kushner received his White House security clearance the same way he got into Harvard sinks in – Daddy” pulled some very expensive strings – his popularity will not be rebounding anytime soon.

Vicky Ward’s book is subtitled: “Greed. Ambition. Corruption. The Extraordinary Story of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.” It is a damning depiction of the Kushner clan and “Javanka”.

Kushner, Inc is an amalgam of Page Six-like dish, post-Holocaust social history, firsthand investigative reporting and recapitulation of Javanka & Co’s contempt for rules, at least those that directly affect them. In Ward’s telling, Charlie Kushner, Jared Kushner’s father, dreamed of becoming America’s Jewish Joe Kennedy, Ivanka Trump fantasizes about being president and Donald Trump almost wishes Ivanka could have been his first lady. Ward puts it all out there, waiting for the reader to inhale, gasp and possibly heave in disgust.

Surprisingly, there has been little concerted pushback. Charlie Kushner’s recent op-ed in the Washington Post only reinforces the book’s central contention that Jared Kushner eviscerated the line between the public good and his own interests. From the looks of things, the Kushners treated the notions of national interest and service as punchlines.

On that note, Ward describes Kushner’s efforts to corral Mark Corallo, an army veteran and one-time Department of Justice official who had been critical of Javanka, to join the White House as communications director. Corallo demurred and Kushner asked: “Don’t you want to serve your country?” Corallo tartly replied: “Young man, my three years at the butt end of an M-16 checked that box.” If nothing else, Kushner, Inc reinforces the well-founded conviction that we are governed by a kakistocracy, from the president on down.

By way of introduction, Charlie Kushner is a New Jersey real estate developer and tempestuously tempered convicted felon. Even as he was running afoul of Chris Christie, then a federal prosecutor, Charlie Kushner was being hit with an eight-figure fine by the Federal Reserve and the FDIC, in connection with the operation of NorCrown Trust, an unregistered bank holding company, a factoid recounted by Ward.

Also involved in the NorCrown Affair was Murray Huberfeld. In May 2018, Huberfeld pleaded guilty in connection with defrauding Platinum Investors, his hedge fund. Ironically, among those burned were Richard Stadtmauer and his wife Marisa, Jared’s aunt and uncle on his mother’s side….

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