Jared Kushner—a man who both comes from and married into a family of wealthy grifters—has revealed how he got so interested in prison reform: the experiences of his father, a white collar criminal. “There was one issue that was very close to my heart because I had a personal experience, which was prison reform,” he told CNN’s Van Jones on Monday.
In 2004, real estate mogul Charles Kushner pled guilty to 18 counts of making illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion, and witness tampering, after which he spent 14 months in prison. Jared found all of this deeply unfair, and visited his father in federal prison nearly every weekend, according to the Washington Post. The incident affected Kushner deeply; he decided he no longer wanted to become a prosecutor. “Seeing my father’s situation, I felt what happened was obviously unjust in terms of the way they pursued him,” he told the Real Deal in 2014, the Post reports. “I just never wanted to be on the other side of that and cause pain to the families I was doing that to, whether right or wrong.”
In between asking Kushner several hard-hitting questions, such as: “How did you get this job? You have like the dopest job in the world, the secretary of everything” and commenting on how great Jared and Ivanka are as a couple—“I would take the ‘power’ out of it. You guys are just an extraordinary couple”—Jones said: “I get that you care [about prison reform]. Does Donald Trump actually care?”
Kushner argued that yes, ever since he brought it to his father-in-law’s attention, he does. “He’s actually spent a lot of time on the issue,” Kushner said, adding that Trump sees prison reform “as a fairness issue.”
Trump’s strong sense of fairness and commitment to criminal justice reform has compelled him to pardon deserving men like racist ex-sheriff Joe Arpaio, rightwing filmmaker and commentator Dinesh D’Souza, and Dick Cheney’s chief of staff Scooter Libby. I’m moved.