As Ivanka Trump plans a move into the West Wing, her business is being handed over to her brother and sister-in-law in the Kushner family. We know nearly everything about the Trumps, but almost nothing about the Kushner family. So the following is a brief primer on the Kushners, including Jared Kushner, one of President Trump’s advisors.
Jared Kushner, husband of Ivanka Trump, is thought to be the silent power behind the president, but Jared is not the only powerful Kushner in the family. It has been suggested that the Kushners settled an old score by pushing Trump supporter Chris Christie off of the transition team, and out of the White House, says the Inquisitr. Years ago, Chris Christie successfully prosecuted Charles Kushner, Jared Kushner’s father, and a real estate developer, and while going after him for tax evasion, managed to get him on the hook for witness tampering. For these crimes, Charles Kushner spent time behind bars. The Kushners reportedly harbored a huge grudge against Chris Christie, and by giving Christie a push off of the Trump team, they allegedly feel they’ve gotten even.
The Kushner family, from Livingston, New Jersey, consists of parents Charles and Seryl Kushner, and their children, Jared, Joshua (who is currently dating model Karlie Kloss), Nicole, and Dara, who were all raised in an Orthodox Jewish home. It is the combination of Nicole Kushner Mayer and Josh Kushner who are taking over Ivanka Trump’s company. Jared Kushner’s grandparents on the Kushner side are both Holocaust survivors who spent years in a displaced persons camp in Italy while awaiting their papers to move to the United States, according to Town & Country. Grandmother Rae Kushner still has haunting memories of this time.
“Nobody wanted to take us in. For the Jews, the doors were closed.”
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Jared’s father Charles Kushner founded Kushner Companies in 1985, and created most of his wealth and their holdings in New Jersey. When Jared took control of Kushner Companies, he sold off many of the family’s other holdings to buy 666 Fifth Avenue, an office tower, for a record $1.8 billion. Like the Trump family, Kushner Companies is also a family organization, according to Esquire.
“Everyone at the company who is not a secretary gathers in a conference room on the fifteenth floor to discuss acquisitions, financing, and construction. Charles and Jared sit next to each other at the center of a long table, and other family members fan out from there. Josh has not attended the meetings regularly for years, but Seryl often attends, as does Nicole, who recently decided to join the business.”
But now, Nicole Kushner and brother Josh are taking over Ivanka Trump’s business, because even though she does not have an official title in the Trump administration, with an office in the West Wing, and the ear of her father Donald, the president, they are trying to avoid the appearance of impropriety.
But Politico is saying that all of this movement is curious, because Ivanka said she would never have a formal position in the Trump administration, but getting an office in the West Wing, and putting your business in the hands of your Kushner in-laws, sure looks like Ivanka is planning to take on an official role.
Ivanka Trump is in the process of obtaining a security clearance and will receive government-issued communications devices by the end of the week. But Ivanka Trump’s lawyer, Jamie Gorelick, says that Ivanka will not get a title, will not be sworn in, and will not collect a salary, but instead is around the West Wing to be Donald Trump’s “eyes and ears.” And the answer to the question that everyone is asking is yes, it’s both odd and unusual, but Gorelick says that she suggest that Ivanka pass off her business, just in case, so there is no conflict.
“Having an adult child of the president who is actively engaged in the work of the administration is new ground. Our view is that the conservative approach is for Ivanka to voluntarily comply with the rules that would apply if she were a government employee, even though she is not.”
Though the majority of Americans think that this working relationship with Donald Trump, Ivanka, and Jared Kushner (who was sworn in) looks odd, Ivanka sees it as normal. Ivanka Trump has released a statement about how she plans to proceed.
“I will continue to offer my father my candid advice and counsel, as I have for my entire life. While there is no modern precedent for an adult child of the president, I will voluntarily follow all of the ethics rules placed on government employees.”
Gorelick says that Ivanka Trump will be distancing herself from the business which bears her name, and convey her interests to a trust to be controlled by her brother-in-law, Josh Kushner, and her sister-in-law, Nicole Meyer, who will be prohibited from entering the brand into any agreements with foreign countries or agencies. But even with the trust put in place, Gorelick understands that nothing is absolute.
“The one thing I would like to be clear on: we don’t believe it eliminates conflicts in every way. She [Ivanka] has the conflicts that derive from the ownership of this brand. We’re trying to minimize those to the extent possible.”
Ethics watchdogs are calling Ivanka Trump’s efforts to put her business in the hands of Jared Kushner’s siblings better than nothing, but still have issues with several Trump business holdings which continue to do business with foreign governments.
What do you think of both Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump working in the White House and with President Trump? Do you think it was right for Ivanka to hand over the reins of her business to Jared’s siblings, or is that still too close?
[Featured Image by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]