There are perhaps no two greater examples of the Trump administration’s total disregard for things like “qualifications” and “competency” than the fact that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner still have plum White House jobs. And now, according to journalist Vicky Ward’s forthcoming book Kushner Inc., we have a glimpse at just how dumb the nepotistic rot within the West Wing really is.
In excerpts obtained by The New York Times, Ward describes Ivanka and Jared as actively enabling the president’s worst instincts, while relying on a lifetime of experience cheating the system to gain power and leverage. According to one portion of the book, Ivanka ran cover for her father after Trump declared there were “very fine people on both sides” of the Charlottesville neo-Nazi rally—comments which reportedly appalled then-chief economic advisor Gary Cohn, who, like Ivanka, is Jewish.
“My dad’s not a racist; he didn’t mean any of it,” Ivanka reportedly told Cohn, paradoxically adding that “That’s not what he said” even though that’s exactly what he said, on camera, in front of dozens of reporters.
In another section, both Jared and Ivanka’s inappropriate requests to use Air Force planes were shot down by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, prompting them to simply invite other Cabinet secretaries on their various outings in order to gain access to military transportation.
Kushner and Trump’s camp have pushed back against the forthcoming book, which was written over the past two years, and draws upon interview with 220 different people. In a statement to the Times, Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Kushner’s attorney, Abbe Lowell (I guess when you’re extremely wealthy, even your lawyers have PR flacks) said:
It seems [Ward] has written a book of fiction rather than any serious attempt to get the facts. Correcting everything wrong would take too long and be pointless.
Despite the younger Trump and Kushner’s work running interference for the president, Trump himself reportedly soured on his progeny’s ineptitude at one point during his presidency. According to Ward, shortly after hiring Gen. John Kelly to serve as his chief of staff, Trump ordered Kelly to find a way to get rid of Jared and Ivanka, telling him that they “didn’t know how to play the game,” and to “get rid of my kids; get them back to New York.”
Kelly, understanding that hiring, and then firing, your own family, would probably play pretty badly in the press, suggested to the president that the only way to solve the Javanka problem would be to make their lives so miserable in the White House that they’d voluntarily quit. But despite his best efforts, it was Kelly who was eventually ousted from the administration, while Jared and Ivanka remain as entrenched as ever.