- Jared Kushner, former senior advisor to former President Trump, is finally out of the spotlight.
- For two men also named Jared Kushner, this has mostly come as a relief.
- “As a person, [Kushner] seems kind of like a scumbag,” one Kushner living in Florida told Insider.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Jared Kushner remembers the first time he saw his name in a magazine.
It was 2009, and Kushner, an elementary school student in Florida, had most certainly not just married Ivanka Trump. But someone with his name had.
“Some relative sent a People magazine to my house, and they were on the cover,” Kushner said, referring to a November cover of the magazine that featured a small photo of Ivanka and Jared as newlyweds.
“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 slumlord practices 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.”
During the early pandemic – when Trump’s son-in-law headed a “shadow task force” and fumbled the administration’s attempts to provide states with desperately needed protective equipment – these messages intensified. In May, someone tagged him in a tweet and wrote, “Wow, 70,000 dead, this is what you call a good job?”
“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.