Breaking History Review: Jared Kushner’s Disheartening Trump Book | Books
JHouse committee hearings on Jan. 6 portray Donald Trump as eager to storm the Capitol. He knew that the gathering organized in his name included armed individuals. When rioters chanted “Hang Mike Pence,” Jared Kushner’s stepfather remarked, “He deserves it.”
In response to a call from Kevin McCarthy, the 45th president questioned the Republican leader’s dedication to the House. The crowd invaded Congress. Trump sat and watched.
Kushner didn’t fare well either. In his panel testimony, he mocked Pat Cipollone as a “crybaby” and described deigning to step out of the shower to take a call from a panicked McCarthy. On screen, Kushner drips with height, non-existent empathy. This is not beautiful.
Next is Breaking History, Kushner’s White House memoir. It stands at the intersection of rotation, absolution and self-glorification.
“What is clear to me is that no one in the White House expected violence that day,” Kushner writes of Jan. 6. Cassidy Hutchinson says otherwise.
Kushner adds, “I’m confident that if my colleagues or the president had anticipated the violence, they would have prevented it from happening.” DC Font tell a different story.
Kushner pushed back first instances of Marc Short, the vice president’s chief of staff, to end Trump’s attempt to prevent certification of Joe Biden’s victory.
“You know, I’m really focused on the Middle East right now,” Kushner replied. “I haven’t really been involved in electoral affairs since Rudy Giuliani arrived.”
In the aftermath of Jan. 6, White House morale was at an all-time low, according to Kushner. A second indictment is looming. Kushner told the staff to stay the course.
“You took an oath to the country,” he recalls. “It’s a time when we have to do what’s right, not what’s popular. If the country is better with you here, then stay. If it doesn’t matter, do what you want.
This sales pitch seems canned. Those who had served in the military found the spiel stale and gritty.
In Kushner, Inc, author Vicky Ward described Kushner’s earlier efforts to persuade Mark Corallo to join the White House staff. Corallo was formerly in the military and also had a stint in the Department of Justice.
After saying no, Kushner asked, “You don’t want to serve your country?
Corallo replied, “As a young man, my three years leading an M-16 ticked that box.”
Trump dodged the draft for Vietnam. When his brother, Fred Jr, accepted a commission in the Air National Guard, he was met with scorn from his family. In contrast, Mike Pence’s son, the Biden boys, Steve Bannon: all wore uniforms.
In Breaking History, Kushner selectively distributes dirt. He tries to absolve his father for recruiting a sex worker to film his meeting with William Schulder, Charlie Kushner’s brother-in-law. At the time, Schulder, his wife, Esther (Charlie’s sister), and Charlie were locked in a battle for control of the family real estate business.
Kushner explains, “Billy’s infidelity was an open secret in the office, and to show his sister Esther what kind of man she had married, my father hired a prostitute who seduced Billy.
Schulder and Esther were also talking to the Feds.
The names of two Trump lovers, Stormy Daniels, the adult film star, and Karen McDougal, the Playboy model, do not appear in Kushner’s book. Then again, as Trump once said, “When you’re a star…you can do anything.” For Trump and Kushner, rules are for others.
Breaking History comes with conflicting creation stories. In June, the New York Times reported that Kushner took an online MasterClass from thriller author James Patterson and then “beat” 40,000 words.
The Guardian reported that Kushner received help from Ken Kurson, a former editor of the New York Observer who was pardoned by Trump on cyber harassment fresh but then pleaded guilty after being accused of spying on his wife. Avi Berkowitz, a Kushner aide who worked on the Abraham Accords, and Cassidy Luna, an aide married to Trump’s White House “body man” Nick Luna, were also on board.
Breaking History says nothing about Patterson but praises Kurson, Luna, and Berkowitz: “From the beginning of this endeavor, Ken’s brutally honest commentary and inventive suggestions have made this a better book.”
Kushner is rightly proud of the Abraham Accords, the normalization agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. In the process, it provides a backstory to Trump’s frustration with Benjamin Netanyahu.
Israel’s then-prime minister earned himself a “fuck him” after hesitantly accepting Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, seeking maximum concessions without grace or reciprocity. What Netanyahu yearned for but never received was US approval for Israeli annexation of the West Bank. Here, Breaking History comes to color Trump’s Peace by Barak Ravid.
According to Ravid, David Friedman, the US ambassador to Israel, was close to Netanyahu. He attended Israeli government meetings until he was expelled by cabinet members. Ravid also calls Friedman “the flesh of the settlers’ flesh.”
Enter Kushner. “Friedman had assured Bibi that he would get the White House to support annexation more immediately,” he says. “He hadn’t passed it on to me or anyone on my team.”
Things got heated. “You haven’t spoken to a single person from a country outside of Israel,” Kushner said. “You don’t have to deal with the British, you don’t have to deal with the Moroccans, and you don’t have to deal with the Saudis or the Emiratis, who all take my word and issue statements. I have to deal with the fallout of this. You don’t.
A Trump veteran described Breaking History to the Guardian as “just 493 pages of sheer boredom.” Not exactly. Kushner delivers a mix of news and cringe. It does not extract Trump from his current quagmire. On Wednesday, Kushner’s stepfather invoked the Fifth Amendment. Only Charlie Kushner got a pardon. A devoted child takes care of dad.