What you don’t know about Jared Kushner

According to a poll conducted by Business Insider, a whopping 67% of Americans have no idea what Ivanka Trump, First Daughter of the President, and her husband, Jared Kushner, actually do in the White House. The couple was instrumental in getting Donald Trump elected back in 2016 and they have retained high-ranking roles in the administration ever since, in spite of having no prior political experience. Ivanka Trump tends to focus her attention on economic issues affecting women and families, but Kushner has reportedly been instrumental in negotiating Middle East policy, the country’s opioid crisis, and various other projects related to governmental reform and innovation.

In spite of how much work he has to do in the White House, real estate mogul Kushner remains a committed family man, shrewd entrepreneur, and cutthroat political strategist. Kushner’s father was a businessman who encouraged his son to take risks. Several failed business ventures early in his career only caused Kushner to pursue riskier projects, including his father-in-law’s campaign.

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump bonded over business

According to a joint interview with Vogue, Kushner and Trump met back in 2007, at a business lunch set up by friends who thought they could work together. “They very innocently set us up thinking that our only interest in one another would be transactional. Whenever we see them we’re like, ‘The best deal we ever made!'” she trilled. They got married in 2009, at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey (of course), after Trump converted to Judaism in line with the Kushners’ Orthodox faith.

Both Kushner and Trump come from real estate families, attended Ivy League schools, and had major roles in their fathers’ companies. Both were ambitious and business-minded. Although Trump admires Kushner’s impressive ambition, she also notes, “He’s incredibly relaxed and calm. The world could be collapsing around him, and nothing fazes him. He’s very solution-oriented.”

Jared Kushner is the second most powerful person in the White House

Andrea Bernstein, who wrote the aforementioned New Yorker profile of Kushner along with the book American Oligarchs: The Kushners, The Trumps, and the Marriage of Money and Power, warned in an interview with Vox that people shouldn’t underestimate Kushner. “I don’t think people understand how powerful he is. I really don’t. People underestimate his proximity to power and his willingness to use it,” she cautioned.

Bernstein also pointed to how, “This is a moment of real crisis and real uncertainty, and this guy is at the center of it with no training whatsoever. He’s just experimenting as he goes.” When questioned about whether Kushner is the most powerful person in the administration next to the President, she answered simply, “Yes.” Kushner has been someone the President trusts to take on big projects, including COVID-19; Trump tapped Kushner to run a task force which did similar work to Vice President Mike Pence’s (via CNBC).

Jared Kushner has been a businessman since birth

Unsurprisingly, Kushner wasn’t like other kids. He had no interest in team sports or attending summer camp. Instead, while growing up in New Jersey, the mini-mogul in training tagged along with his father to construction sites or even to see prospective new properties, according to a profile in TIME. Likewise, in The Real Deal, which is focused on the New York real estate world, it’s reported that Kushner spent his summers and weekends checking out garden apartment communities, and even painting and leasing properties for the family business.

Then, as now, family comes first for Kushner. He left his job at the Manhattan D.A.’s office to take over his father’s real estate business when the elder man went to prison in 2005. His relationship with his powerful wife further emphasizes how focusing on family above all else has paid dividends for this incredibly shrewd businessman.

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