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The Millennial son-in-law behind Trump

Jared Kushner, deemed the digital brains behind Trump run for the U.S. presidency, is an orthodox Jew who owns an insurance company that profits with Obamacare
Illustration: CARLOS RIVAHERRERA
14/03/2017
02:13
El Paso, Texas
Luis Chaparro
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Jared Kushner, one of the best positioned real-estate businessmen in the U.S., and Ivanka Trump, eldest daughter of the president of the U.S., Donald Trump, attended a business meeting without realizing they would find love for life instead. Kushner and Trump’s mutual friends set up the meeting in hopes of having the couple start off a business relationship. Little they knew they had welded the marriage that would define the conscience of the most powerful country in the world. 

Early in 2008, the U.S. press had speculated about a sentimental relationship between Kushner and Ivanka Trump, by the end of the same year Ivanka converted to Judaism and the couple got married in 2009 after a two-year relationship. The Kushner-Trump couple never consolidated a business of together, yet they achieved a larger project instead: having Ivanka’s father become the 45th president of the U.S.

Jared was born in New Jersey to an orthodox Jewish family. His grandparents fled the Holocaust from Europe and settled in New York, while his father, Charles Kushner raised a fortune from the real-estate business. At age 24, Jared Kushner led the real-estate family business as his father was completing a two-year sentence for tax evasion and for bribing U.S. politicians.

Jared is both a sociologist and lawyer and attended prestigious Modern Orthodox Jewish Frisch school, the same as singer Regina Spector and actress Rena Sofer among other celebrities. He then attended Harvard College, where he graduated with honors.

Per Daniel Golden, editor of journalistic organization ProPublica, Charles Kushner made a USD$2.5m donation in exchange for the admission of his two sons into Harvard College. Jared earned his MBA from the University of New York in 2007 where his father also donated USD$3m. Almost immediately, at age 25, Jared Kushner purchased The New York Observer, a conservative journal founded in 1987, which he led until his appointment as an adviser to president Trump earlier this year, consequently handing it over to his brother Joseph Kushner.

Jared’s Tower

Raised over the luxurious Fifth Avenue right in the business heart of Manhattan, New York, is 41-story tower 666, a building valued at over USD$360m which was completed in 1957 rising only 147 meters with a 140,000sqm surface, modest measurements for New York standards but which represent the hallmark of Jared Kushner’s career when he purchased it in 2007 for USD$1.8bn. This was the first property purchased by the eldest of the Kushner sons as the head of Kushner Properties.

In the same year, he sold 17,000 apartments in USD$1bn cash worth over USD$920m in assumed debt.

Jared’s empire has managed to hold the assets of the Kushner family which are valued in USD$1.8bn, USD$1.15bn stemming from the real estate market. Tower 666 leases each sqm in about USD$50 according to documents from Kushner Properties.

The rest of the fortune is divided between the New Yok Observer, USD$10m, as well as Oscar Health Insurance, driven by Obamacare, USD$240m, according to Forbes. Jared founded Oscar Health Insurance, worth USD$2.7bn, alongside his brother Josh, a company that sells health insurance to non-eligible people through their employer or respective government program as enforced by Obamacare, the same program that president Trump has threatened to lash out.

Jared Kushner is an architect of great projects, apart from enhancing the value of Tower 666 beyond its height, he has raised his father-in-law to the U.S. presidency alongside a team of the best digital marketers.

Jared’s other project is called Project Alamo, a team of 100 people from different backgrounds which represented a significant cost reduction impossible in former times, but one that Jared knew how to profit from a fraction of its original value.

Eric Schmidt, Google executive and one of the richest web developers in the world said in an interview that Jared Kushner has virtually conducted a campaign for the presidency without resources, “He understands the value of the world online in a way that people in the traditional media fail to do so. He was able to conduct a presidential campaign using nothing but new technologies and he succeeded at it.”

For Paypal founder, Peter Thiel, Kushner is more than an adviser in the White House, “If Trump is the president of a company, Jared is clearly the head of operations in that company.”

Kushner himself summed it up in an interview for Forbes, one of the few he has given throughout his career, “I made some phone calls to my friends in Silicon Valley and asked to one of the top digital marketers in the world how to escalate this issue and they put me in contact with their subcontractors.” According to Kushner, he received a marketing tutorial via Facebook from where he started to build his new tower: Trump's run for the U.S. presidency went from selling USD$8,000 per day in memorabilia to USD$80,000 in donations and publicity.

Trump’s run for the U.S. presidency was only the foundation of Jared Kushner’s new tower. What followed was to consolidate relations between countries, “I helped facilitate many relations which would have failed to happen any other way”, said Kushner during Forbes interview.

One of the most complex relations at present is that between Mexico and the U.S., where Kushner has advocated for a healthy relation between the countries, alongside Mexican Foreign Minister, Luis Videgaray. The two organized Donald Trump’s visit on August 31 last year when, then-candidate managed to briefly put himself together for a couple of hours, just to go back to his aggressive rhetoric once he landed on U.S. soil.

British news site The Independent published last year that “Kushner’s patience was put to the test by his father-in-law”, after Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto canceled his visit to Washington after a series of Trump’s tweet posts, “Kushner was furious. I had never heard him saying how furious he was throughout the campaign, but this really got him”, said an anonymous source to Forbes.

Life with Trump

The son and father-in-law relationship is filled with contrasts and similarities. Like Trump before him, Jared Kushner has built a real-estate empire in the U.S. and they both represent the ambition businessmen. Yet, despite Trump’s intense presence in Twitter, Kushner has still to tweet his first post.

In a recent article published by Kushner in the New York Observer, titled “The Donald Trump I know”, the 35-year old businessman describes his father-in-law as a “non-racist, non-anti-Semite, loving and tolerant” man.

He adds, “I have seen him welcome people of all races and creeds both in his business and private life…I know him, they (the media) don’t […] people see in him what they want to see.

I trust that my father-in-law, with an outstanding record of visible results, will succeed at sweeping away all obstacles, that’s why I support him.”

According to Forbes, both Trump and Kushner’s offices clearly showcase each of their personalities, “Trump’s office is full of ego-raising objects, while Kushner’s are plain and simple, […] however, they both have Ivanka pictures and trophies of their real-estate businesses.”

We know now that, without Kushner’s millennial workstyle, Trump will be far from the White House. However, Kushner’s plans behind the support to his father-in-law go well beyond building a family tower alongside his beloved Ivanka and are yet to be known. Still, one of the trophies that may appear as a shared success for both businessmen is Mexico.

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