The Enigma in The White House

Jared Kush­ner

Forward Magazine - - Forward 50 -

Jared Kush­ner used to be one real es­tate heir among many in New York City. But his fa­ther-in-law Don­ald Trump’s un­likely as­cent to the White House has thrown Kush­ner, 36, into the cen­ter of world events. He’s serv­ing as a se­nior ad­viser in the new ad­min­is­tra­tion, and seems to have an end­less num­ber of port­fo­lios, from gov­ern­ment in­no­va­tion to crim­i­nal jus­tice re­form to the Mid­dle East.

Kush­ner’s new­found promi­nence has not been with­out trou­bles. He and his wife, Ivanka Trump, have faced per­sis­tent al­le­ga­tions about their for­eign busi­ness ties and po­ten­tial con­flicts of in­ter­est. Re­porters have dug into his com­pany’s ag­gres­sive tac­tics against low-in­come renters. He re­mains caught in the Rus­sia in­quiry, with re­ports sur­fac­ing in June that he met with a Krem­lin-af­fil­i­ated at­tor­ney who promised dirt on Hil­lary Clin­ton. Now it has been re­vealed that Kush­ner has used his pri­vate email ac­counts for his of­fi­cial busi­ness, an in­dis­cre­tion for which he and the Trump cam­paign wanted to in­dict Clin­ton.

And Kush­ner hasn’t even been pop­u­lar in the pres­i­dent’s own camp. The far-right press has at­tacked him, with out­lets like Bre­it­bart claim­ing he leads a “glob­al­ist” fac­tion within the White House.

It’s a dra­matic change for the real es­tate scion, who grew up in a New Jersey Mod­ern Ortho­dox fam­ily. Go­ing to Har­vard and then into his fa­ther’s busi­ness, he was once rel­e­gated to the nar­row, priv­i­leged world of New York com­merce. He’s now fac­ing greater chal­lenges than ever: His fa­ther-in-law even ex­pects him to make peace be­tween Is­raelis and Pales­tini­ans. Love or hate him, Jared Kush­ner might be Amer­ica’s most im­por­tant Jew in 2017.

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