On her popular podcast Gaslit Nation, Sara Kendzior repeatedly talks about how the biggest indicator of America’s descent into authoritarianism would be Jared Kushner walking scot free of any potential prosecutions.
I knew Kushner was a nepotistic failson whose outsized power comes from his father-in-law’s office and an indifferent Republican Party but of all the crooks in this organization, he’s probably the one who I know the least about or am the least offended by.
That changed with this book.
Telling the Kushner story concurrently with the rise and background of Donald Trump, Andrea Bernstein presents a picture of someone who due to spectacular family wealth and influence has consistently failed upward. Kushner shows little talent for running a boutique journalist outlet or a massive Central Park skyscraper but due to wealth and connections, he’s allowed chance-after-chance to mess things up again.
This is exacerbated when he rides Donald Trump’s coattails to the White House. Kushner becomes a trusted advisor of the President despite having zero experience with governance. Watchdog dog organizations warned the White House and Congress that Kushner’s many financial dealings overseas made him a top target for compromise by foreign powers who didn’t have the US’ best interest at heart. But as a telling sign of our descent into authoritarianism, no one really listened or cared.
This is a readable book. Most of the Trump stuff was familiar to me, though I learned more about Trump University than I had before. But it supports a lot of what Kendzior is saying about how Russia, Saudia Arabia, etc. will use their money to buy the United States through someone like Kushner.