Ivanka Trump solidified herself as a recognizable figure due to her father, Donald Trump’s, celebrity-like status years ago, and has captured the attention of the public ever since. We have followed her dating life, her careers in fashion and real estate, and her time in the White House with intense attention, always looking for the latest piece of news or political drama.
But not too much is widely known about Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner, the Manhattan real-estate mogul who snatched up the then-bachelorette and helped turn her into a wife, mother, and dominating political force. Kushner, for the most part, has stayed out of the media spotlight, becoming known for seldomly giving an interview and keeping his life out of the headlines.
We’ve scoured through the internet, read all the interviews, and took note of just about everything Kushner has said on the record to compile the following. Have you ever wondered where this married pair met? Does Kushner’s family agree with his politics? And how exactly did he amass his fortune? Here is the truth about Ivanka Trump’s husband.
Jared Kushner's family suffered at the hands of the Nazis during World War II
Members of Jared Kushner’s family endured one of the worst events in history, the Holocaust, and the experience impacted their lives and where they settled after World War II. His grandparents lived through the unbearable conditions of the Novogrudok ghetto in Nazi-controlled Poland (now Belarus), and immigrated to the United States shortly after, having survived the deaths of several family members. As noted in The New Yorker, the Kushner family lost so much of their livelihoods due to the Nazis: Their home was destroyed, their business was overtaken, and their lives consisted of a lack of food, forced labor, unsanitary conditions, and family separations.
However, the Kushners prevailed and eventually settled in New Jersey, where Joe Kushner — Jared’s grandfather — was instrumental in creating a significant suburb with other Holocaust survivors. Joe and his wife, Rae Kushner, were also responsible for the opening of an Orthodox school and the founding of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Per the Intelligencer, this “story of resistance has become central to the Kushner-family identity.”
Ivanka Trump's father-in-law established Kushner Companies
Before joining the White House as senior advisor to Donald Trump, Jared Kushner was known for his family’s Manhattan real-estate business. His father, Charles Kushner, established Kushner Companies in 1985, planning to go into business with his own father, Joe Kushner. However, as noted by The New Yorker, “Joe died soon after, and Charles, bereft and left to lead the company alone, expanded his father’s business model.”
But that did not stop Charles from achieving success, as Kushner Companies further developed into a real-estate business, which focused on property development, management, debt, and acquisition. As the company grew in profit and influence, it was impacted by Charles’ arrest (keep scrolling, we’ll get there), but now has stake in over 60 buildings in New York City, including apartments and offices, as well as properties in Rust Belt towns like Pittsburgh and Toledo.
With a simple business model of targeting less-than-desirable locations for apartment improvement, Jared told Multifamily Executive Magazine in 2012 that the company’s efforts resulted in “a lot of construction and a lot of evictions,” which expanded the company’s rental portfolio. Jared later stepped down as CEO of Kushner Companies in 2017.
Jared Kushner originally supported Democratic politicians
This one came as a shock to us, too. But yes, you read that correctly: Jared Kushner’s father-in-law may be Republican President Donald Trump, but he’s historically supported Democratic politicians, following in the footsteps of his own father. Charles Kushner donated over $1 million to the Democratic party, as noted by Forbes. For his part, Jared previously gave $11,000 to Hillary Clinton and over $60,000 to Democratic committees.
Jared even went as far as interning for Robert Morgenthau, Manhattan’s famed district attorney, while in graduate school. Morgenthau, who was in office from 1975 until 2009, was described by The New York Times as the “bane of mobsters and crooked politicians.” At the time of this death in 2019, The Washington Post noted that Republicans had even stopped putting up a challenger to Morgenthau, as they saw him as an “invincible” Democratic force to be reckoned with.
When asked about his political affiliation following the 2016 election, Jared told Forbes, “To be determined … There’s some aspects of the Democrat Party that didn’t speak to me, and there are some aspects of the Republican Party that didn’t speak to me.”
Team members of the New York Giants attended Jared Kushner's bar mitzvah
Bar mitzvahs are a celebration of a Jewish boy’s transition into manhood, and often serves as a great milestone in a young person’s life. As noted by Chabad, the occasion marks a 13-year-old’s adoption of “all the rights and obligations of a Jewish adult.” It is often accompanied by synagogue ceremonies and parties with friends and families. Some bar and bat mitzvahs are celebrated with parties at home, featuring the standard party tropes like candy, gifts, and cards. But by the time Jared Kushner celebrated his bar mitzvah, it appeared as though the whole city of New York was invited to celebrate.
His father, Charles Kushner, had long established himself among Manhattan society, and the occasion was used to bring a spotlight focus on the family. According to The New Yorker, Jared’s “bar mitzvah was a black-tie event” hosted at a Midtown Manhattan hotel. With hundreds in attendance, the guest list even featured then-members of the New York Giants.
Ivanka Trump's husband launched his career after a family business scandal
Almost 20 years after Kushner Companies was established, Charles Kushner was arrested and pleaded guilty to illegal campaign contributions, witness tampering, and tax evasion. The scandal rocked the family in the mid-2000s, and a newly-graduated Jared Kushner quickly stepped up to the plate and took over as the head of the family and the business. He quickly set his sights on Manhattan’s real-estate, and in 2007, made his first purchase as Kushner Companies’ CEO.
Some of our first major purchases as adults typically include a car, or a pet, or even an air purifier. But Jared’s first business purchase was one for the books, as he bought the building located at 666 Fifth Avenue for a record-breaking $1.8 billion, as noted by Forbes. Even after his father’s arrest and guilty plea, Jared was not derailed. “The whole thing taught me not to worry about the things you can’t control,” he told the outlet in 2016. “You can control how you react and can try to make things happen as you want them to. I focus on doing my best to ensure the outcomes. And when it doesn’t go my way I have to work harder the next time.”
Jared Kushner studied law and business at New York University
It’s safe to assume that Jared Kushner’s life was thrown for a loop when his father was arrested, and the event changed his postgraduate plans. At the time, Jared was majoring in business and law at New York University, with plans to work in the nonprofit sector, per The New Yorker. But when dad Charles Kushner was arrested, Jared abandoned his plans and took over the family business. He also started making frequent visits to his father, who at the time was imprisoned in Alabama.
Although Charles pleaded guilty to multiple charges, his eldest son’s trips served as a way to gain a certain sense of sympathy for his misfortunes, as Charles’ siblings had been the ones who called for the criminal investigation. While speaking with New York Magazine (via The New Yorker), Jared held his family members’ resentments accountable for resulting in Charles demise. “His siblings stole every piece of paper from his office, and they took it to the government,” Jared said. “Siblings that he literally made wealthy for doing nothing. He gave them interests in the business for nothing.”
Ivanka Trump's husband's career took a turn from his real-estate background
In a surprising twist, Jared Kushner expanded his ambitions by purchasing the Observer, a New York City newspaper known for its ambitious reporting and “up in the pipes” style, often going after the city’s financial, real-estate, and advertising moguls. But according to The New Yorker, the publication’s editorial style shifted upon Kushner’s acquisition. For example, Kushner reportedly pressured editor Peter Kaplan into writing a “hit piece” on Chris Christie — the U.S. Attorney who filed criminal charges against Charles Kushner in 2004.
Despite the changes in style and the pressures to adopt a new tone, Kushner all but saved the newspaper, as it was reportedly on the brink of collapse. “He bought absolutely, positively, a dying publication in the Observer,” a former employee said, as noted by Business Insider. “It was a cultural icon, but it was also within hours of becoming a cultural relic. So when you change something, everyone gets upset, and Jared changed it because what it was couldn’t possibly continue to exist financially.”
Kushner stepped down as both publisher and owner of the Observer after accepting his position as senior advisor in the Donald Trump White House.
Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump were set up by a friend
Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump met in 2007 — and it’s no surprise that they hit it off. They were both part of the Manhattan scene, had familial backgrounds in real-estate, and each had quite a chunk of change. However, they were set up by a commercial real-estate broker and another mutual friend, who thought the pair could establish business dealings together. It quickly became clear that their interest in each other was far more than just professional.
“They very innocently set us up thinking that our only interest in one another would be transactional,” Trump later told Vogue. “Whenever we see them we’re like, The best deal we ever made!” Indeed, Kushner and Trump were together for two years before getting married. Their 2009 wedding was held at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., and saw a star-filled guest list of about 500 people. In order to satisfy Kushner’s family, Trump converted to Judaism, her husband’s religious faith. They are now parents to daughter Arabella and sons Joseph and Theodore.
How Jared Kushner became involved in Donald Trump's presidential campaign
Jared Kushner had been part of Donald Trump’s life since dating and marrying his daughter, Ivanka Trump, but November 2015 marked a turn in their relationship. While Jared had been a real-estate mogul and publisher in his own right, the early days of the 2016 presidential campaign inspired him, setting in action a chain of events that would impact the election.
In the fall of 2015, Jared and his father, Charles Kushner, traveled to Springfield, Ill. to attend a Trump rally. “We don’t have victories anymore,” Jared’s father-in-law told his audience. “We’re stupid. We have stupid people leading us.” It was there that Jared was inspired, and he later described the experience as an “awakening” in an interview with Forbes. “People really saw hope in his message,” he said of The Donald’s rally.
From that moment on, Jared found a more senior role on the Trump team, and his passion for the campaign only continued to grow.
Jared Kushner is credited for saving his father-in-law's campaign
Jared Kushner apparently went from taking over Donald Trump’s social media strategy to all but saving the campaign. His influence grew throughout the 2016 election, ultimately resulting in winning. “It’s hard to overstate and hard to summarize Jared’s role in the campaign,” Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel told Forbes. “If Trump was the CEO, Jared was effectively the chief operating officer.”
Kushner’s focus on the media strategy and campaign exposure resulted in support from the swing states that mattered in the election. Furthermore, he became known on the campaign as the calm to Trump’s controversial behavior, and was able to move the campaign in the direction of victory.
“I helped facilitate a lot of relationships that wouldn’t have happened otherwise,” Kushner told Forbes. He noted that many people on the campaign trusted him, and felt confident confiding in him without any information leaking to the public. “People were being told in Washington that if they did any work for the Trump campaign, they would never be able to work in Republican politics again,” Kushner said. “I hired a great tax-policy expert who joined under two conditions: We couldn’t tell anybody he worked for the campaign, and he was going to charge us double.”
Ivanka Trump's husband was a key player in an infamous political meeting
The 2016 presidential campaign was full to the brim with scandals and political upsets. From the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private emails to Donald Trump’s comments on the Access Hollywood tape, the election cycle felt more like reality television than politics. But perhaps the most infamous event of the campaign was the meeting between Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who was linked to the Kremlin.
Per The New York Times, the meeting was designed in order for Veselnitskaya to give the trio “damaging information” on Clinton, as she was set to be the Democratic nominee for president. After the meeting came to light in 2017, Kushner’s lawyers stated that he was asked to attend, but was not informed as to what the meeting was about beforehand.
Following Donald Trump’s subsequent White House win, Trump Jr. has taken over his father’s organization with younger brother Eric Trump, Kushner began serving in the White House, and Manafort is a convicted felon, having been charged with conspiracy, tax fraud, foreign-lobbying violations, and witness tampering.
Why Jared Kushner and his family began to grow apart
Politics can pit family members against each other, and the Kushner family is no exception. After his grandmother’s death, Jared Kushner and his family apparently began to grow apart, and their political rift has only increased. According to The New Yorker, the divide rose to the surface in regards his grandmother’s legacy, as she was a Holocaust survivor, refugee, and philanthropist. The policies that Kushner has overseen since being in the White House — like family separation, the U.S.-Mexico border wall, and refugee cuts — appear to go against the very fabric of her identity.
Journalist Jonathan Swan questioned Kushner about the topic. “It doesn’t make a difference one way or the other,” he said, as noted by The New Yorker. “In the scheme of the magnitude of the problem we have, I think that we’re doing our best to try to make as much impact to allow refugees to be able to go back to their places.”
Not all members of the Kushner family agree with his sentiment, however. “I have a different take away from my Grandparents’ experience in the war,” Kushner’s cousin, Marc, posted on Facebook in 2016. “It is our responsibility as the next generation to speak up against hate.”
Unlike his father-in-law, Jared Kushner has never made a single tweet
President Donald Trump is known for many things: his love of fast-food, his avoidance of paying taxes, his scandal-filled presidency. But if he were to be known for just one thing in particular, it would probably be Twitter. Trump’s use of the social media site is feverish, as he tweets daily about his press appearances, critics, policy initiatives, and reelection campaign. His presence in the Twittersphere has been praised by some, criticized by others, but stands as an example of who he is and what his presidency has consisted of.
Jared Kushner, on the other hand, couldn’t be more different. Although he has a Twitter account, and has been a verified user since 2009, he has yet to make a single tweet, retweet, or like. Despite his father-in-law’s Twitter activity, and even his wife’s consistent use of the site, Kushner has shown no interest — which is surprising given that he has over 119,500 followers.
Some of Jared Kushner's D.C. neighbors include the Obamas and Jeff Bezos
The District of Columbia is home to some of the United States’ most important political figures of both past and present, and the Kushner/Trump family has settled in one of the area’s most prolific areas. The Kalorama neighborhood, located north of Dupont Circle, is an historic area that’s home to Washington D.C.’s elite and powerful. The Obama family moved to the Kalorama area in January 2017 after leaving the White House; Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns a house in the neighborhood; and media figures like Fox News’ Chris Wallace and Bloomberg’s Justin Smith have also made it home.
Jared Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, similarly rented out a home in Kalamora after Donald Trump assumed the White House — a $5.6 million white brick mansion, to be exact, for which they pay $15,000 a month (via Business Insider). The area is made up of beautiful homes, spacious parks like Mitchell Park and the Spanish Steps, and “Embassy Row.” The security in the neighborhood is also pretty tight. The Obamas’ house, for example, is surrounded by security, as is the Kushner/Trump family home, protected by a metal fence and security guards.
Donald Trump apparently wasn't thrilled at first about Ivanka Trump's pick for a husband
Ivanka Trump has been in the spotlight for years, as has her dating life. She has been linked to actors including That 70s Show‘s Topher Grace, Sean Brosnan, and even professional athlete and Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong (although she told People that they were “just friends”). But the relationship that never happened for Ivanka, more to the disappointment of dad Donald Trump than her, was with then-New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (who has been married to Gisele Bündchen since 2009).
For some reason, it’s an idea and romance the president had his heart set on, and even though Jared Kushner and Ivanka have been married since 2009, as well, the relationship that could have been is a bit of a sore spot for the former star of The Apprentice. “Jared hasn’t been so good for me,” Donald said while talking about his son-in-law in 2018, as noted by The New York Times. Having also joked that he “could have had Tom Brady” as a son-in-law, he once quipped, “Instead, I got Jared Kushner.”
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