In a forthcoming memoir, Jared Kushner says he personally stepped in to stop Donald Trump from attacking Rupert Murdoch in response to the media mogul’s early criticism of Trump. go into politics in 2015.
In the book Breaking History, Kushner writes, “Trump called me. He had clearly had enough. ‘This guy is no good. And I will tweet it.
“‘Please, you’re in a Republican primary,’ I said, hoping he wasn’t about to post a negative tweet aimed at the most powerful man in conservative media. “You don’t need to get on Rupert’s bad side. Give me a few hours to fix it.
Kushner says he fixed it. If his assertion is true, one could consider that he made an extremely important intervention in the modern history of the United States.
Murdoch’s endorsement, primarily through Fox News, was instrumental in propelling Trump to victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016. persistent reports of friction between the two men, Murdoch backed Trump through four tumultuous years in office that culminated in Trump’s refusal to admit defeat and the murderous attack on Congress.
The Guardian has obtained a copy of Kushner’s book, which will be published next month.
The book lands at a time when Murdoch’s diaries and, to some extent, Fox News are widely seen walk away from trumpamid congressional hearings on his election subversion and Jan. 6 attack, speculation of criminal charges and as he plots another run for the White House.
In his book, Trump’s son-in-law, who became a senior White House adviser, describes a friendship with Murdoch built in time on Murdoch’s yacht and at Bono’s home in France, watching the U2 frontman sing with Bob Geldof and Billy Joel. Kushner also describes how Wendi Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s third wife, helped him get back together with Ivanka Trump after a breakup.
Kushner claims to have convinced Murdoch to support Trump in 2015.
Trump and Murdoch were not close before Trump entered politics. But in July 2015, after Trump kicked off his explosive campaign for the Republican presidential nomination with a racist rant against Mexicans, Fox News owner tweeted: “When will Donald Trump stop embarrassing the whole country?”
A week later, the New York Times describe Murdoch bashing Trump. Trump was furious and threatened to tweet. Kushner was not then an official adviser to his father-in-law, but he writes: “I called Rupert and told him I had to see him.
“’Rupert, I think he might win,’ I said as we sat in his office. You agree on many points. You want a smaller government. You want less taxes. You want stronger borders.
“Rupert listened quizzically, as if he couldn’t imagine Trump was really serious about the race. The next day he called me and said, ‘I looked at this and maybe I was wrong. In fact, he has a real audience. It looks like he’s very popular, like he really could be a kingmaker in the Republican primary with the way he plays it. What does Donald want?
“’He wants to be president,’ I replied.
“‘No, what does he really want?’ he asked again.
“Look, he doesn’t need a nicer plane,” I said. “He has a nice plane. He doesn’t need a nicer home. He doesn’t need anything. He’s tired of politicians screwing up the country, and he thinks he could do better.
“’Interesting,’ said Rupert.
“We have had a truce, for now.”
Kushner also writes about Trump’s clashes with FoxNews during the 2016 campaign, including a clash with presenter Megyn Kelly. Kushner says he made a deal with then-Fox News executive Roger Ailes to donate $5 million to a veterans organization of Trump’s choice, in exchange for Trump’s choice not to skip a debate.
Murdoch rejected the deal, writes Kushner, saying that if he accepted it, he would have to “pay everyone to show up for the proceedings.”
Kushner also describes how Murdoch helped shape his view of why the United States needed Trump. At a rally in Springfield, Illinois, in November 2015, Kushner recalled “a book Rupert Murdoch had given me months earlier: The separation of Charles Murraywhich shows that over the past 50 years, America has divided into upper and lower classes who live separated from each other, geographically and culturally”.
Trump, writes Kushner, appealed to the “forgotten and disenfranchised.” For his son-in-law, the rally in Illinois “was a wake-up call.”
Kushner’s version of another call with Murdoch, on election night 2020, has been widely reported. He says Murdoch told him Fox News’ call for Joe Biden to defeat Trump in Arizona, a move that infuriated the president and his advisers, was “ironclad — not even close.”
Arizona played a pivotal role in Trump’s attempt to nullify the election with lies about voter fraud. Fox News is now the subject of $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit from a manufacturer of voting machines, on the conspiracy theories pushed by Trump and his allies and repeated on the network.
Fox News has said he is “confident that we will prevail because freedom of the press is fundamental to our democracy and must be protected, in addition to outrageous claims for damages, unsubstantiated and not anchored in sound financial analysis, serving no purpose more than a blatant attempt to dissuade our journalists from doing their job”.