Ivanka Trump got an earful on social media after sharing a video of her husband Jared Kushner’s remarks about perseverance with podcaster Lex Fridman in October 2023.
“I just think it’s just something where, if you want to accomplish something, you know, a lot of people, I hear, complain about what other people do or why it’s hard, or why it’s impossible,” Kushner said in the video. “And again, I say this as somebody who has been so blessed with so many things in life, but when I’ve had challenges or things I’ve wanted to achieve, I just focus and say, ‘What can I do?’” he added. “I’ll read everything I can get my hands on. If I fail at one thing, if the door closes, I’ll try the window. If the window closes, I’ll try the chimney. If the chimney closes, I’ll try to dig a tunnel. It’s just, if you want to accomplish something, you just have to go at it.”
In sharing the post online, Ivanka gushed over her husband, observing that she had received “a remarkable number of gracious compliments” regarding Kushner’s comments. “I personally love this clip as it reveals the determined optimist who firmly believes that there’s always a solution if you’re willing to try enough paths. I love this about Jared … and it’s a good reminder as we start the new year!” she continued.
Though Kushner alluded to his wealthy background in the clip, online critics were quick to expound on that key point.
“Pulled out the silver spoon to say that,” actor and comedian Diedrich Bader wrote on Threads.
“Most trust fund babies are optimistic,” one X user quipped. “It’s built into the free money.”
Another X user quote tweeted Ivanka’s post, writing, “Her husband, Jared, who was born into a family worth billions, explains to us how his tenacity led to his success. I learned that if I never give up on my dreams and work really hard, I can also be born into a wealthy family.”
Rachel Vindman, co-host of podcast “The Suburban Women Problem,” wrote on Threads, “Like when I didn’t have the grades or test scores or intellect to get into Harvard, my dad donated $2.5M and it was done. Come on, losers, FIGURE IT OUT.”
As ProPublica noted in 2016, Kushner was admitted to Harvard University after his father, New Jersey real estate developer Charles Kushner, pledged $2.5 million to the university. Daniel Golden, the author of the article as well as the 2006 book, “The Price of Admission,” shared candid excerpts of conversations he had with administrators at Jared Kushner’s high school:
“‘There was no way anybody in the administrative office of the school thought he would on the merits get into Harvard,’” a former official at The Frisch School in Paramus, New Jersey, told me. “’His GPA did not warrant it, his SAT scores did not warrant it. We thought for sure, there was no way this was going to happen. Then, lo and behold, Jared was accepted. It was a little bit disappointing because there were at the time other kids we thought should really get in on the merits, and they did not.’”
Ivanka and Kushner, who both served as advisors to former president Donald Trump, did not accept paychecks during Trump’s tenure in the White House, as noted by HuffPost. However, Washington D.C. nonprofit watchdog organization, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), found that the conservative couple raked in up to $640 million in outside income while they were working under Trump.
Want a daily wrap-up of all the news and commentary Salon has to offer? Subscribe to our morning newsletter, Crash Course.
Kushner also reportedly received a $2 billion investment from Saudi Arabia for his private equity firm, Affinity Partners, which included an expected $25 million in annual management fees, from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund six months after his father-in-law left the White House.
During his time working for Trump’s administration, Kushner managed Middle East policy, which resulted in him cultivating a relationship with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Kushner also spearheaded efforts to create the Abraham Accords, which established Israel’s diplomatic relations initially with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, and later with Morocco and Sudan.
Affinity Partners went ahead with the investment deal despite a Saudi Public Investment Fund review panel citing concerns about the “inexperience of the Affinity Fund management” and a due diligence review that deemed the transaction “unsatisfactory in all aspects” among other considerations, per The New York Times. Ultimately, however, the Crown Prince and acting chair of the fund dismissed and overruled the panel’s objections.
about Jared and Ivanka