There’s plenty of mildly juicy, if familiar, gossip in White House tell-all Kushner, Inc.: Greed. Ambition. Corruption., all of it packaged together to alternately inspire pity, revulsion, or both. There is Ivanka Trump apparently arriving at boarding school alone in a white limo, Melania Trump undermining her eldest step-daughter’s efforts to take over the East Wing, and, naturally, all the Mueller investigation shit. But my favorite parts so far have been the tidbits about Jared Kushner, the number one milk baby of the Trump administration.
Let’s take a tour.
Here we have Kushner, a father of three, reflecting on parental leave (emphasis mine throughout):
Jared told a colleague he was proud of how hard his wife worked, especially during her pregnancies. The couple had three children in fairly quick succession—Arabella in 2011, Joseph in 2013, and Theodore in 2016—and Jared’s view of parental leave seemed to evolve. Initially, he told that same colleague he was amazed that, within days of giving birth to Arabella, Ivanka was down in Miami, closing a deal on the Doral Gold Resort and Spa for the Trump Organization. “She feels she has to prove herself to her father,” he said, clearly both surprised and impressed. But after Joseph was born, Jared was more blasé—and clueless. According to that same colleague, he opined at an Observer event that he could not understand why people took so much time off around pregnancies. “After all, there are so many people helping.”
And Kushner’s assessment of why people go into journalism:
Unlike his mentor, Rupert Murdoch, Jared seemed not to understand [journalists]. And he certainly did not respect the. “He’d be condescending to them and he didn’t understand why anybody would go into journalism,” said [Elizabeth Spiers, former Observer editor]. “He was like, ‘Why are these idiots taking these low-paying jobs when they could work in commercial real estate and make a ton of money?’ He did not understand public service at all.”
Kushner’s very own, “I mean, it’s one banana, Michael. What could it cost? Ten dollars?”
According to multiple sources, Jared was doggedly unrealistic about some projects, such as the asking price for luxury penthouses developed at the top of the Puck Building in 2011. Two of the properties were still listed as available seven years later. The asking price for the penthouses was well above the market price for that location, but Jared would not budge. Someone close to the project said he seemed to have a “reality distortion field”...
And Kushner’s equivalent of wearing an Unknown Pleasures t-shirt without ever listening to Joy Division:
On Jared’s office walls at 666 Fifth, along with a photograph of John F. Kennedy, was a frame containing the first page of the Charles Dickens novel A Tale of Two Cities, which famously begins, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Jared once told a reporter he bought it because he so loved the phrase. But when a different visitor asked what he thought of the novel, a classic set during the French Revolution, Jared was dismissive. “I haven’t read it.”
Listen closely. Do you hear that? It is Jared’s pea brain rattling around in his tiny skull!