Through the Eyes of Jared Kushner
“So you want us to accomplish something you couldn’t by doing it the same way you did it?” – Jared Kushner   “I never planned to write a book, but then again, I never planned to work in the White House.” So opens Jared Kushner’s White House memoir, Breaking History, an inside look at how… The post Through the Eyes of Jared Kushner appeared first on VoegelinView.




“So you want us to accomplish something you couldn’t by doing it the same way you did it?” – Jared Kushner


“I never planned to write a book, but then again, I never planned to work in the White House.” So opens Jared Kushner’s White House memoir, Breaking History, an inside look at how the son of Jewish real estate mogul and New Jersey Democratic Party megadonor ended up marrying into Donald Trump’s family and becoming a trusted aid and confidant to one of the most transformative presidencies in American history. Part biography, part memoir, part inside look into the daily workings of the Trump Administration, Breaking History gives us a glimpse into the Trump presidency heretofore unseen by the mainstream media.
For most people, their knowledge of the Trump presidency is from the headlines of the decaying media empire suffocating America. Although now thoroughly discredited, “Russia collusion” continues to taint the image of the Trump Administration. There are also all the headlines that promoted scandal and disagreement within the White House. Next there were all the headlines blaming Trump for COVID failure. Lastly, there were brief acknowledgements of foreign policy success, like the renegotiation of NAFTA into USMCA and the Abraham Accords, but those brief acknowledgements of success were drowned out by the eventual reemergence of negativity sounding from the national press. While many people do not like to admit it, thinking themselves open-minded and educated, the fact is most people—including the supposedly open-minded and educated—rarely change their views on a subject and take their views from the first headlines and articles they read on said subject.
Jared Kushner’s memoir of a turbulent but undeniably consequential four years of the Trump Administration unpacks the often false and misleading media narratives and paints an exhilarating portrait of what actually went on inside the Trump White House and tries to break those mostly untrue, malicious, and otherwise misleading headlines and articles that dominated the public image of the Trump Administration.
First things first, there was an establishment (which some call the “deep state”) reluctant to work with Trump and even active dissent to prevent the president’s new and unorthodox methods from succeeding. This, though, Kushner reminds us, was ironic since even this antagonistic establishment acknowledged problems needed fixing. “When confronted with the potential risks of change, they play it safe for fear that any disruption to the current system will jeopardize their political careers.” Over and over again, the Beltway elite, Republican and Democrat, conservative and liberal, sought to stymy Trump’s efforts from immigration reform and building the border wall, Middle East peace, even the eventual bipartisan criminal justice reform bill known as the First Step Act.
Next, while pulling back the veil and revealing the arrogance of the establishment, Kushner’s memoir does show one thing that the media did get right: White House infighting. Jared’s position as special advisor and deal-maker made him deeply aware of the problems of internal politics and egoism, even from supposed outsiders like Steve Bannon who tried to present himself as a populist crusader against the DC Swamp but was nothing more than a self-serving individual out to improve his own clout and continuously leaked and lied to the conservative and liberal media for his own personal agenda. Ego, self-preservation, and political advancement ruled from the beginning:
It quickly became obvious that the White House was very different from my experience in the private sector. Bureaucracy, egos, and people’s obsession with holding on to power stifled collaboration and progress on policy goals. In one instance Gary Cohn, the former Goldman Sachs president appointed to lead the National Economic Council, pulled me aside.
‘Bannon is leaking on me nonstop,’ he said. ‘I’m not going to take this. I know how to fight dirty.’
From the beginning, the West Wing was fractured by competing camps. There were the Trump originals…There were the Trump ideologues…There were experienced executives…And there were the RNC establishment types.
Trump’s victory also revealed the power squabbles within the Republican Party. Few Republicans believed Trump would win. Few did anything to help him win. But when Trump did win, “Hundreds of Republican power players, who had done nothing to help him on the campaign and in many cases openly opposed and undermined him, were vying for top positions.” Kushner’s insights into the power struggle within the Republican Party is eye-opening and it allows readers to make sense of the post-Trump presidency Republican fighting that is still ongoing as we near the 2024 election cycle.
Additionally, Kushner’s reflection on this in-fighting hits the establishment security state hard. Generals like Jim Mattis and John Kelly don’t appear to be all that impressive. Though generals of high rank and regard, “At some point, however, it seemed like Mattis and Kelly decided that they knew better than the president of the United States and made it their mission to protect the world from Trump.” One can also think of the bratty security official Miles Taylor as another example. The security establishment openly fought Trump and ridiculed his efforts at opening dialogue with North Korea, confronting China, and seeking Middle East peace without Palestinian statehood. Tillerson too, Trump’s first Secretary of State, was part of the problem. ‘Thanks to your efforts…the Middle East is much worst today than when we got here. The embassy move is going to be a disaster.’”
Luckily for us, and luckily for those exhausted of nearly twenty years of “Forever Wars,” the security establishment was proven wrong time and again. The moving of the American embassy to Jerusalem didn’t cause Middle East riots and instability. Dialoguing with North Korea didn’t empower Kim Jung Un. Removing the US from its faulty nuclear agreement with Iran enacted under the Obama Administration didn’t lead to war. And the push for normalizing Arab-Israeli relations didn’t end in failure, it resulted in remarkable success and a new condition of relationships between much of the Arab world and Israel.
At the end of his tenure as Secretary of State, John Kerry, whom a friend and I met while both at Yale, remarked:
There will be no separate peace between Israel and the Arab World. I want to make that very clear to all of you. I’ve heard several prominent politicians in Israel saying sometimes, ‘Well, the Arab world is in a different place now, we just have to reach out to them and we can work some things with the Arab world and we’ll deal with the Palestinians.’ No, no, no, and no. I can tell you that reaffirmed even in the last weeks as I have talked to leaders in the Arab community. There will be no advance and separate peace with the Arab world without the Palestinian process and Palestinian peace. Everybody needs to understand that.
Given the reality of the Abraham Accords, no one should ever take John Kerry or the security establishment seriously about Middle Eastern affairs again. But, of course, they will be taken seriously again. Why? Because their livelihoods depend on taxpayer dollars to fund their ceaseless incompetence; by being incompetent, by not solving problems, money perpetually flows into their think staffs, foundations, and security offices as a means to manage the problem rather than solve it. And this explains the security establishment’s continued attacks against Donald Trump even after Joe Biden’s inauguration. They’re back in charge and threatened by the prospects of another Trump presidency.
The highlight of Breaking History is, without doubt, the long road to the Abraham Accords. The Trump Administration, with Kushner as the leading negotiator and point-man, sought to solve the problem of Middle East peace rather than manage it like the security and diplomatic establishment in Washington and New York City. In doing so, the entire apparatus of the security-surveillance state ended up the odd man out. Kushner details how the security and diplomatic corps thought separate negotiations with the Arab states was foolish, incapable of working, and evidence of an unintelligent approach to foreign affairs. Yet, as history ended up showing, it worked.
From Kushner’s own words, what proved to be the eureka moment was the fact he wasn’t educated in the foreign affairs and political science departments of America’s elite universities who all have the same outlook despite their supposed diversity. Kushner’s business background and personal dealings with the Arab leaders in the region led him to realize that part of America’s Middle East woes was the speaking down to Arab leaders and refusal to listen—American foreign affairs has a hardened vision and doesn’t deviate and then blames the Arabs for failing to compromise when it is America that refuses to compromise and change course. In his many trips and talks to various leaders, “This led to a eureka moment: maybe the reason the Israeli-Palestinian conflict hadn’t been solved was because it is two separate conflicts, not one.”
This eureka moment of realization that Muslim access to Jerusalem and the Islamic holy sites, like the al-Aqsa Mosque, could be negotiated independent of the Palestinian conflict led to the breakthroughs of the Abraham Accords. One by one, Arab states previously hostile to Israel officially recognized the Jewish state. Citizens of the Gulf states and other Muslim countries now gained travel access to Israel, Jerusalem, and the holy sites therein. Far from the explosion of riots and war forecasted by the establishment, the peace accords went smoothly and defied expectations much to the embarrassment of those individuals adamantly opposed to such efforts.
No memoir of the Trump presidency is complete without COVID and the 2020 election. Here, Kushner doesn’t hide that the COVID pandemic and global shutdown caught everyone by surprise. But rather than speak of incompetence (as most of the media establishment proclaimed), Kushner reveals heroism in passing the largest economic stimulus in history, sending out life-saving supplies to beleaguered states and cities, and getting medical testing for a vaccine in rapid time. Was it enough, though, to win reelection? No. And Kushner doesn’t indulge in the Big Lie about the 2020 election either. Biden beat Trump. But that doesn’t take away the accomplishments and good handling of the crisis contrary the media’s all-out assault on Trump during the pandemic:
When COVID-19 struck, the president mobilized all of America to respond. The United States acquired, delivered, and ramped up the production of masks, PPE, ventilators, testing supplies, and other lifesaving materials. The economy rebounded faster than experts had predicted, with the GDP growing at a rate of 33 percent in the third quarter of 2020. And because Trump took a calculated risk and invested billions of dollars in Operation Warp Speed, America delivered lifesaving therapeutics and a safe and effective vaccine in less than a year, far faster than anyone thought possible.
Kushner’s Breaking History peels back the veils surrounding the Trump White House. It breaks down the media’s false narrative it had presented since the 2016 election. It also reveals a broken White House in-of-itself, one of competing factions that hampered the president’s policy goals. It undresses what Trump loyalists have called the “deep state,” the Washington establishment and bureaucracy which prefers things to stay the same, even in failure, instead of risking change and adopting to a new norm. For readers looking for a new account of what the Trump presidency wrought, Kushner’s memoir is the book you are looking for.


Breaking History: A White House Memoir
By Jared Kushner
New York: Broadside Books, 2022; 512pp

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