Once perhaps former President Donald Trump’s “most influential” adviser, Jared Kushner chose not to engage with the president at pivotal moments between the 2020 election and Jan. 6.
- Two days after the 2020 election, Kushner told wife Ivanka Trump it was time to leave DC, a new book says.s.
- Like many other Republicans in Washington, Kushner believed Trump would eventually admit he lost.
- Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s testimonies to the Jan. 6 committee could could shed further light.
In the months between former President Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss and the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol attack, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump were planning their escape from Washington — and the president’s inner circle, according to a forthcoming book by the New York Times’ Peter Baker and the New Yorker’s Susan Glasser.
Details about their efforts to remain at arm’s length from the former president after his election loss, released in a New York Times report, come on the eve of the first congressional hearing on the events of Jan. 6, 2021. Video of Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s testimonies to the congressional committee investigating the Capitol attack is expected to be shown.
The book, titled “The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021,” is slated to be released on Sept. 20, according to the Times. Here’s what we know.
What we don’t know about Jan. 6: What Trump’s family told the committee, whether attack was organized
When did Kushner and Ivanka Trump start to distance themselves?
Two days after the 2020 election, before the presidential race had even been called for Joe Biden, Kushner told his wife it was time for them to leave Washington, announcing their family would move to Miami, the Times reported.
The couple knew that President Trump’s re-election bid had failed and did not believe the election had been stolen, despite the then-president’s insistence otherwise, according to the report.
As efforts to overturn the election results progressed, Kushner and Ivanka Trump began searching for their next home and where their children would attend school. But they had to act carefully, the Times reported.
“The last thing they wanted to do was make it look as if they were moving on because that would produce headlines embarrassing to Mr. Trump,” the Times report reads. “Indeed, Ivanka Trump would text her father’s top advisers that same day just after the election and prod them to ‘Keep the faith and the fight!’”
Who counseled the president instead?
Throughout Trump’s presidency, Kushner was considered one of his top advisers — perhaps the “most influential,” the Times wrote. Without Kushner whispering in his ear, President Trump turned to advisors like Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, who fed him false claims about dead voters casting ballots and doctored voting machines.
The Times reported that Kushner told President Trump that he “would not be involved” while Giuliani was in charge, which only allowed more space for conspiracy theories (and theorists) to occupy the president’s mind.
Instead of advising the president, Kushner turned his attention to the Middle East, where he hoped to lock down his own legacy via expanding the Abraham Accords, an agreement that put in place diplomatic relations between Israel and other Arab states. He felt that achievement “validated his whole time in Washington,” the Times reported.
Lead-up to Jan. 6 lays bare rift in Trump circle
The same day Kushner declared to Ivanka Trump that their family would move to Florida, setting in motion their plan to distance themselves from the president, another Trump sibling took the opposite approach.
Donald Trump Jr. texted Mark Meadows, then-White House chief of staff, and described how Team Trump could subvert the election results by having Republican legislatures in states won by Biden invalidate those results and send electoral votes for Trump on Jan. 6 instead.
The former president’s son-in-law quietly worked with Biden aides to prepare for the transition to Biden’s presidency, despite the fact President Trump refused to authorize transition cooperation, the Times reported. Still, at pivotal moments, Kushner chose not to engage.
Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, at one point asked Kushner for help mending the relationship between Pence and the Trump — which Kushner ignored.
“Look, when Rudy got involved, I stopped being involved,” Kushner told Short, contending that Pence is a “big boy” and could confront the president himself, according to the Times.
In the days leading up to Jan. 6, Kushner was in the Middle East. He was on a plane back to Washington when the Capitol attack began, the Times reported.
Like many other Republicans in Washington, Kushner believed President Trump’s election result denial was “mainly a way of soothing a wounded ego and explaining defeat,” the Times reported. He sent a message to Senator Mitch McConnell, then the Republican majority leader, asserting Trump would eventually accept he lost.
“We’ll get through it, bear with us,” Kushner told McConnell’s former chief of staff, according to the Times. “We’ve got a couple of challenges that have some merit, we’ll see how they go, but there’s a pretty good chance we come up short.”
That would be the end of it, he suggested. But that was quickly disproven on Jan. 6, when the Capitol was stormed by Trump supporters hoping to halt the certification of Biden’s electoral votes, affirming his presidential win.
In the days after the Capitol attack, Kushner worked to mend the relationship between Pence and the president, inviting the vice president to meet with Trump. The pair met — it was “somewhat warm,” Pence told aides, according to the Times — but the damage was already done.
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Jan. 6 hearings
Kushner and Ivanka Trump have stayed out of the limelight since leaving the White House and have said little about the events of Jan. 6.
Their testimonies, which are expected to be shown in part during the Jan. 6 congressional hearings, could shed further light on the stretch of time between the election and Biden’s inauguration.