Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of former President Donald Trump and a former White House senior advisor, has reportedly told some of Trump’s closest advisors that he wants “a simpler relationship” with the former president, according to The New York Times.
While former Trump campaign managers Bill Stepien and Brad Parscale are still tied into Trumpworld, Kushner, who is married to the former president’s oldest daughter, Ivanka, has stepped back.
According to The Times, Kushner “wants to focus on writing his book and establishing a simpler relationship” with the former president.
With Kushner out of the spotlight, Donald Trump Jr., the president’s oldest son, has become the most politically-active member of the family in the former president’s orbit at the moment.
It also comes on the heels of a CNN report from March where several sources said that Kushner was “tapped out” from the political world as Trump was emerging from his Mar-a-Lago resort to speak at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Florida.
Just last year, Kushner was one of the most prolific advisors in Trump’s orbit, with the former president lauding him as “my star” during a roundtable on policing reform.
During the event, Kushner praised law-enforcement officials for “coming together to fix” policing after hearing the “cries from the community.”
“Hopefully at this time where there’s a lot of people in the country who are feeling different pain and feeling different concerns, law enforcement can be a leader in coming together and helping us work towards bringing solutions that could bring this country forward,” Kushner said at the time.
Kushner has kept a relatively low profile since Trump left the White House in January.
Ivanka Trump, former President Donald Trump’s eldest daughter, on Wednesday posted a photo of herself receiving her second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine after facing backlash from her many followers for publicizing her first shot last month.
“This afternoon, I gratefully received my second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine,” she wrote next to a photo of herself receiving the shot in Miami. “Getting fully vaccinated is the best way to end this pandemic and protect ourselves and one another.”
Ivanka’s post again attracted widespread criticism and pushback from her conservative followers, many of whom are anti-vaxxers or skeptical of the COVID-19 vaccines.
“I’m a big Trump supporter but I’m definitely not getting that vaccine! Lol To each their own. Respect to you either way,” James Vick, a retired professional MMA fighter, commented on Ivanka’s Instagram post.
Another commenter wrote, “Love your family but this is a huge NO for me & my family. Will be praying you do not get any of the horrible side affects.”
Others replied, “Please stop promoting this nonsense,” “HARD PASS,” and “Sorry, don’t trust it.”
This comes after Ivanka broke her two-month silence on social media with her first vaccine post on April 14. The former White House adviser faced a deluge of critical comments on social media from conservatives and others who oppose or are skeptical of the COVID-19 vaccines.
Unwillingness to get vaccinated is much more pervasive among conservatives than liberals. Several recent polls have found that nearly half of Republicans say they don’t plan to get vaccinated for COVID-19.
Ivanka is the only member of her immediate family to publicize her vaccination. The New York Times reported in March that the former president and first lady privately received immunizations in the White House in January. The ex-president has since publicly urged Americans to get vaccinated, calling the shots “safe” and “something that works.”
“I would recommend it to a lot of people that don’t want to get it and a lot of those people voted for me, frankly,” Trump told Fox News in March.
But people responded saying they wouldn’t do the same, with some spreading conspiracy theories about the vaccine.
Many users simply posted messages like “No,” Nope,” or “Why?,” with other claiming she was making a mistake.
The Associated Press reported that she received the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine in Florida, where people aged 16 or above are eligible for the shot. She also told the AP in a statement that “getting vaccinated is our best way to beat this virus and protect ourselves and others.”
The AP reported, citing two sources, that Trump was eligible for a vaccination when she was working at the Trump White House, but she chose to wait.
As Insider’s Eliza Relman reported, Ivanka Trump is the first immediate member of the Trump family who publicized that she got vaccinated. Her father, President Donald Trump, was quietly vaccinated alongside the first lady in January.
Ivanka Trump, former President Donald Trump’s eldest daughter, broke her months-long silence on Twitter to post photos of herself getting a COVID-19 vaccination on Wednesday.
“Today, I got the shot!!! I hope that you do too!” Trump tweeted. “Thank you Nurse Torres!!!”
Trump, who hasn’t tweeted in almost three months, is the first member of her immediate family to publicize her vaccination. The former president and first lady didn’t tell the public that they were vaccinated. The news that they privately received immunizations in January was first reported by The New York Times in March.
Trump’s enthusiastic post about the COVID-19 vaccine is potentially significant because Republican voters and Trump loyalists are disproportionately hesitant or unwilling to get vaccinated.
About 25% of Trump voters told pollster Frank Luntz that they “definitely will not” get vaccinated and another 21% said they would wait for over a year to get the shot. Younger Republican women, those who live in rural areas, and those who don’t have a college degrees, are particularly concerned about getting a vaccine.
Hunter Biden has reignited a long-standing feud with the Trump children, calling them out for “(reaping) the benefits of their family name.”
In his new memoir, “Beautiful Things,” Biden calls the Trump kids – Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump – out for not being able to get a job outside of their father’s business.
“I’ve worked for someone other than my father, rose and fell on my own,” Biden wrote.
He acknowledged that his own last name was a “coveted credential,” but accused the former president’s children of suggesting that their millions were self-made, and not benefits of carrying the Trump family name.
“Do you think if any of the Trump children ever tried to get a job outside of their father’s business that his name wouldn’t figure into the calculation? My response has always been to work harder so that my accomplishments stand on their own,” Biden said.
“I thought it was one of the funniest things in the world. I used to joke with all my friends about it: ‘If you Google me, it says I’m married to Ivanka Trump.'” Back then, he was blissfully ignorant. The only thing he knew about Ivanka was that she was Donald’s daughter.
More than a decade later, Kushner – who is now 21, and has no relation to the former senior White House advisor – doesn’t find the situation so funny. Nor is he pleased with the political performance of the man who shares his name.
After five years of being mistaken for former president Donald Trump’s senior advisor, he’s relieved at the thought of finally getting his name back, with Trump out of office and the other Kushner fading from prominence.
“My mindset at this point is eventually he’ll go away,” Kushner, who grew up in Palm Beach County, not far from Mar-a-Lago, said. “I don’t know if people will necessarily forget about him, but he won’t be brought up. And he won’t be brought up with my name, or with me.”
‘It really is a great sort of icebreaker’
Sharing a name with a widely loathed political figure is one of those things that seems amusing at first, but can quickly descend into chaos and aggravation.
Just ask Bill de Blasio, the Long Island man who has spent the last seven years being bombarded with hate mail intended for the mayor, or Donald R. Trump, the North Carolina guy who’s had to employ several fraud protection services because people keep trying to hack his bank accounts. Other name doppelgängers, like Gerry Sandusky – one letter removed from the convicted sex offender – share similar tales of woe; still others find it mostly funny.
For the 21-year-old Kushner, a college senior, things really ramped up during the 2016 presidential campaign. He enjoyed it at first. Kushner and his family watched NBC News every night, and they’d get a kick every time his name was mentioned. But when people wouldn’t stop bringing up the other Kushner to him, it started to get old.
The coincidence was intensified by the fact that Kushner’s grandfather is named Charles Kushner – just like Jared Kushner’s father, who spent two years in prison for illegal campaign contributions and tax evasion.
“He gets stuff all the time, like people calling their house. He deals with it, too,” Kushner said of his grandfather. When Trump pardoned the other Charles Kushner in December 2020, “I called my grandpa – I was like, ‘Congrats on the pardon.'”
Meanwhile, in Canada, another man named Jared Kushner has found that his name can be both a blessing and a curse. (A third Jared Kushner, a New York cardiologist, declined to be interviewed.)
Around 2015, he remembered being informed of his name twin by a friend. “She was like, ‘Oh my god, you’re famous, right?’ It just slowly increased from there.”
The Canadian Kushner, 28, works in commercial real estate, where colleagues and clients are sometimes impressed by his name (never mind the other Kushner’s reputation for slumlordpractices in the real estate world).
“People are typically pretty excited to get my business card if they’re familiar with the name,” he said. “They’ll send it to their friends, they’ll take a picture of it: ‘Oh, I met Jared Kushner today.'”
In fact, Kushner suspects his name has been a benefit to his career, since it gets real estate people’s attention.
“Some people like the idea of having that conversation and saying, ‘We got Jared Kushner!'” he said. “They’ll choose to call me instead of other people solely based on my name… To some degree, it really is a great sort of icebreaker to have that conversation with clients.”
Both Jared Kushners said their name wreaked havoc on their social media profiles
Now that the Trump presidency is over, both men are excited to get their names back.
In October 2018, when a Kentucky-based man named Brett Kavanagh tweeted, “This is a terrible time to be named Brett Kavanagh,” the Florida Jared Kushner quoted-tweeted his viral post with a knowing comment: “Welcome to the club…”
Indeed, this is a club where people with unfortunate names receive a whole lot of misdirected online hate. On Twitter, “I get tagged with Ivanka and Don Jr.,” said the 21-year-old Kushner. “It’s all these official verified accounts with millions of followers. And then they tag me. I have a profile picture. I look nothing like him. And they still think my account is the other Jared Kushner’s.”
The situation has been exacerbated by the fact that Trump’s son-in-law simply doesn’t tweet, which leaves people wondering which Kushner is that Kushner.
“I get private messages on Facebook,” the 21-year-old Kushner said. “Maybe Instagram sometimes. Usually it’s people who are very upset with him. I feel like it’s usually just yelling about stuff in the Middle East that I don’t even understand. Or just cursing me out.”
In August 2017, for example, he received a rambling Facebook message from a woman in California. “Your father in law is off the rails,” she wrote. “Help us all!! Do not be complicit. This is horrific!”
He usually ignores these messages, but he admitted he once replied to someone on Instagram as though he were the other Kushner, just to mess with him. (The man didn’t reply back.)
Meanwhile, the Canadian Kushner had a Twitter account he used solely to keep up with sports headlines. But he was so bombarded with angry tweets from confused #resisters that the site became nearly unusable for him.
“I was getting tagged in retweets. I was getting direct messages: ‘I need to contact so-and-so, or do this, or take a stand,'” he said. “I had to shut that down. It was kind of getting out of hand. I’ve had people add me on Facebook. I’ve had people add my Snapchat.”
“I guess you could say being threatened on Twitter is probably pretty weird,” he said. “But I’ve kind of been acclimatized to it. People say some pretty egregious things on Twitter.”
The Kushners are somewhat torn on their opinions of Kushner and the former administration
“As a person, [Kushner] seems kind of like a scumbag,” the Floridian Kushner said. Moreover, he felt he hadn’t been the best representative for the Jewish community.
Referencing the white supremacist symbols and Nazi-era flags on display at the January 6 Capitol riot, Kushner, who is also Jewish, said, “I don’t understand how people can see this and still think his administration has been good for the Jewish people in America, in Israel.”
He also described the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic as “a horrible job.”
The Canadian Kushner is more conflicted about Trump and his son-in-law.
“I see a lot of things that [Trump] has done that he’s done well,” he says. “And I see a lot of things he’s done that he’s done poorly. I think it’s fair to say at this time that Trump’s a very interesting character. Am I a fan? Probably not.”
Being named Jared Kushner can also ferment confusion in real life, though such encounters tend to be less vitriolic
For the Canada-based Jared Kushner, such encounters regularly happen when he’s traveling to the US.
“I’ve had people make comments to me in airports before,” he said. “Kind of a smirk, a laugh, and ‘Really? This is your name?’ Nothing insulting or harmful. I’ve had a lot of people say, ‘Oh, I guess you’ve had a pretty tough four years, huh.'”
A few months ago, the Florida Kushner went to get tested for COVID-19.
“I handed the person collecting the test my driver’s license. He came back a couple minutes later and he was shocked,” Kushner says. “He was like, ‘Are you really Jared Kushner?’ Like, ‘Is this your real name?’ I get a lot of those kinds of things.”
Then, in January, he was playing golf and was paired with a random partner. “And he came up to me and he said, ‘I think we’ve played together before.’ And then he goes, ‘Trump’s son-in-law, right?'”
Zach Schonfeld is a freelance writer and journalist based in New York. Previously, he was a senior writer for Newsweek. His first book was published in November 2020.
A policy program championed by Ivanka Trump, and aimed at assisting female-led small businesses around the globe, suffered from such poor agency oversight that the Government Accountability Office was unable to conclude how successful the program was – or even if it had worked at all.
Former President Donald Trump’s eldest daughter and adviser, Ivanka Trump, helped promote the policy program and ushered the bill through Congress.
The US Agency for International Development oversaw the implementation of the initiative and was mandated to spend at least $265 million per year on assistance to small and medium-sized enterprises under the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act. Half of the money was meant to go to women, while the other half was required to go to the poor, according to Politico.
But Thursday’s report found that the agency never clearly defined what makes a business owned and run by women. Nor could the agency conclude the amount of funding that actually reached women-owned enterprises or the very poor.
Ivanka Trump was not responsible for directly overseeing the program, but she did help usher the legislation through Congress and in a 2019 interview vowed to “rigorously track the execution and efficacy of the money that we were spending,” according to The New York Times.
Weeks after President Trump signed the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act into law, Ivanka Trump oversaw the launch of another reform initiative, the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, aimed at providing a “whole-of-government” approach to financially boost poor, female entrepreneurs around the world.
According to Politico, Ivanka Trump praised the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative as “enabling us to rigorously track the execution and the efficacy of the money that we are spending.”
But the culmination of the Government Accountability Office’s 14-month audit made clear the opposite was happening at the Agency for International Development – one of ten agencies involved in the legislation’s implementation.
The report was particularly critical of the way the agency disbursed half of the act’s funding meant to target those in extreme poverty. Officials in Africa, Asia, South America, and Europe told investigators they “did not receive any guidance on how to define the very poor” or “guidance on any poverty measurement methods to assist them…” which hindered their ability to deliver aid.
As such, the agency was unable to “document its compliance” with the requirement that 50% of government resources be targeted to the very poor.
Rep. Louis Frankel of Florida, who co-sponsored the original legislation, told The Times a reporting requirement that she helped write into the law prompted the independent audit and was “essential in turning things around.
“It is important that Congress continue to monitor efforts to ensure that the agency continues to improve its programs and activities targeting women and the very poor,” the Democrat said in a statement to the outlet.
Thursday’s report included six recommendations for the agency, including that the agency identify the total funding requirements under the law; establish a clear definition of an enterprise owned, managed, and controlled by women; and ensure the reliability of its obligations data, among others.
According to the report, the Agency for International Development accepted all six recommendations.
Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told Fox News on Thursday night that the Republican Party is already looking ahead to the 2024 presidential election and that the top GOP contenders are all named Trump.
Meadows, who said he talked with former President Donald Trump on Wednesday, said the former president’s speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Sunday in Orlando, Florida will offer a glimpse of “what the future may look like.” He added that Trump remains the leader of the divided party.
“On Sunday, we will see the start of planning for the next administration and I can tell you, the people that are at the top of that list, all of the have Trump as their last name,” Meadows told opinion host and Trump ally Sean Hannity.
Trump has reportedly said he plans to run for reelection in 2024 and his two eldest children, Ivanka and Don Jr., are both widely viewed as potential future candidates for office.
Since leaving office, Trump has continued to spread lies that he won the 2020 presidential election and that Democrats engaged in widespread voter fraud. Meadows said Trump will take about his “America First” agenda and attack President Joe Biden’s actions in office. It will be Trump’s first speech since he left office and was impeached for inciting the deadly January 6 Capitol riot.
“You’re going to see a speech on Sunday that talks about not only the beginning, but what the future may look like, and I’m excited about it,” said Meadows, formerly the chair of the House Freedom Caucus.
Also during Hannity’s Thursday night program, Trump Jr. mocked Republican politicians who “lose gracefully” and said his father showed “you don’t have to do that, you can actually push back.” And he insisted that his father remains the most powerful figure in the GOP.
“If you’re reading the room and you’re intelligent, you realize that Donald Trump is still the future of the Republican party,” he said.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office, led by Cyrus Vance Jr., first sought Trump’s tax documents since it opened an investigation into his finances in 2017.
The precise scope of the investigation is unclear, but court filings suggest that Vance’s office is looking into whether the former president’s tax filings amounted to criminal tax fraud. If Trump were to be indicted for financial crimes, the tax returns would no doubt be a centerpiece for the charges.
Vance’s office is also reportedly looking into whether Donald Trump, Jr. and Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, were involved in wrongdoing.
The investigation was first triggered after Michael Cohen, a former executive of the Trump Organization and personal lawyer to Trump, told Congress he used the company’s funds for hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels, an adult-film actress who claims she had sex with Trump in 2006. Vance is looking into whether those payments broke laws as well.
Chief among the issues is whether – as Cohen testified – Trump kept two sets of books for his finances: One for favorable loan deals and another for low tax rates.
Jeff Robbins, a former attorney for the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and federal prosecutor overseeing money-laundering probes, said keeping two sets of books could lead to a number of serious financial crimes.
“Inconsistency is not a crime. The intent to defraud is a crime,” Robbins told Insider. “What a prosecutor is going to be looking at is: Did Trump seek to defraud the government of the United States with respect to the valuation of assets and the paying of taxes? Was there an intent to defraud banks?”
Trump has gone to great lengths to keep his tax returns secret despite saying he wants to make them public
In January 2017, Trump held a press conference with his three eldest children and pointed to a large pile of papers that he said showed he was withdrawing from the Trump Organization and giving all control over to Eric Trump and Donald Trump, Jr. He has never permitted reporters to look at those purported documents.
A 2020 investigation from The New York Times found and analyzed nearly two decades’ worth of Trump’s returns. It cited major revelations, including:
Trump paid $0 in federal taxes for the majority of the years reviewed and $750 during his first two years as president. At the same time, he paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes to foreign governments.
He received tens of millions of dollars from foreign sources.
$300 million in loans are due to be paid back over the next several years.
He vastly overstated his charitable giving.
He has been involved in a yearslong battle with the IRS over a $73 million refund, which he may owe back to the federal government.
The subpoenas will also enable Vance to obtain other documents related to Trump’s taxes, including communications between the Trump Organization and its accountants at the accounting firm Mazars USA, as well as questions, complaints, concerns, instructions, and arguments for how to value certain assets.
Robbins described these documents as “a potential treasure trove of admissions.”
“I’m sure prosecutors are looking at all sorts of contradictions in those documents,” Robbins, now the co-chair of the Congressional Investigations practice at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, told Insider.
“If the taxpayer had taken a totally different position with respect to the asset in some other place, that would be very strong evidence of an intent to defraud,” he added.
Deutsche Bank, the Trump Organization’s chief lender, and Aon, its insurance broker, have already cooperated with Vance’s investigation, according to The New York Times.
Trump is also subject to at least two other financial investigations
The House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee is also seeking to obtain Trump’s tax returns as part of an investigation into whether he interfered with the IRS’s audit program.
It is not clear if the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, which oversees federal prosecutions in Manhattan, is also looking into Trump’s finances. It successfully obtained a guilty plea from Michael Cohen in 2018 for campaign-finance violations related to the Stormy Daniels hush-money payments.
And just because Vance will get Trump’s tax returns doesn’t mean everyone else will.
Under New York state law, evidence obtained for a grand jury – as Vance is doing here – must be kept under seal unless the case goes to court. Both James and the House have been mired in their own court challenges over Trump’s returns. Rep. Richard Neal, the chairman of the House committee, has cited Vance’s recent Supreme Court win as a mark of confidence that he’ll succeed in his own lawsuit.
James, the state attorney general, has been involved with several tangles with Trump, his family, and his company over financial matters.
In 2019, she secured a settlement with Trump and his children where they paid a $2 million fine and were barred from serving on charity boards in the state. The Trump Foundation, which was dissolved as part of the settlement, had used funds to bolster Trump’s political fortunes and for the then-candidate’s personal image.
A separate probe from James’ office is looking into whether the Trump Organization has misrepresented its assets, including the value and use of its properties, for tax benefits. The office interviewed Eric Trump, the current chief executive of the Trump Organization, in October.
Trump, his family members, and the Trump Organization have all denied wrongdoing.
Vance is not expected to run for reelection as Manhattan’s District Attorney this year. He recently hired Mark Pomerantz, a former mob prosecutor, to oversee the Trump team and ensure its continuity under a new administration.
The investigations into Trump’s finances aren’t the only legal perils he’s facing. He, his company, political operation, and numerous other businesses and organizations he’s affiliated with are staring down a tsunami of investigations. He also faces numerous civil lawsuits related to his business practices and sexual-assault accusations.
But according to a person close to Ivanka, who spoke to the Times on condition of anonymity, a Senate run was never something she considered seriously.
This was confirmed by Rubio’s spokesperson, Nick Iacovella, who told the Times: “Marco did speak with Ivanka a few weeks ago. Ivanka offered her support for Marco’s re-election. They had a great talk.”
Rubio and Ivanka have prior experience of working together. They both worked on the child care tax reform during Trump’s presidency, and are planning to do a joint event to highlight the issue in April, according to Iacovella.
“Marco has been a tremendous advocate for working families, a good personal friend and I know he will continue to drive meaningful progress on issues we both care deeply about,” Ivanka said in a statement to CNN.
Ivanka’s decision to pass up a Senate bid does not rule out the possibility of her looking at other political avenues.