Both the Trumps and the Kushners were originally less than enthused by the relationship between Jared and Ivanka, a new book claims.
Vicky Ward, the author of the just-released Kushner, Inc.: Greed. Ambition. Corruption. The Extraordinary Story of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, delves deep into the personal lives of the famous couple.
In the book, released on Tuesday, Ward writes that US President Donald Trump was “baffled by his daughter’s conversion” to Judaism before her wedding to Kushner.
“Why should my daughter convert to marry anyone?” Ward quoted Trump as saying to an associate. She noted that at the wedding itself, Trump was shocked by some of the religious content, including women given shawls to cover their shoulders and gender-separated dancing. Later in the book, Ward claims that Trump was “reluctant” to accept Ivanka’s conversion, but eventually did so.
Ward wrote that Jared’s parents, Charles and Seryl, were extremely unhappy by the match when Jared and Ivanka first started dating in 2007, after meeting at the Prime Grill kosher restaurant in Manhattan.
“Jared’s parents were horrified by the match,” Ward wrote. “Seryl and Charlie were dismayed at the idea of their son marrying outside the faith... Charlie and Seryl refused to even meet Ivanka,” and were a large factor in their three-month breakup.
But Ivanka eventually agreed to convert to Judaism, and did so via an Orthodox rabbi, on Charlie Kushner’s terms.
“Charlie wanted to test Ivanka’s devotion to his son and her future life,” Ward quoted a family friend as saying. “So he made her conversion as challenging as possible.”
Throughout Kushner, Inc., the couple’s religious observance is noted as playing a significant role in their lives and work.
When the scandal over Trump’s tweet featuring a Star of David against a backdrop of money broke out, Kushner “was offline for Shabbat.” The day the infamous Access Hollywood video of Trump bragging about grabbing women “by the pussy” came out, “Ivanka and Kushner, unusually, did not go home to celebrate Shabbat,” Ward wrote. And the following day, the couple “climbed multiple flights of stairs in their sweats – thereby adhering to the rule that states you must not operate electrical devices, elevators included, during Shabbat – to be with the team.”
Ward also quoted a source saying that Ivanka and Jared were often of limited use on the campaign trail.
“Every Friday night, people were calling Jared as the sun was going down... ‘What about this, what about that?’” Ward wrote. “And Jared was very good about going down, not being in contact [during Shabbat], and it was frustrating for us, because if you didn’t get an answer by sundown, you were basically just in a holding pattern for 24 hours.”
While Kushner’s parents learned to embrace Ivanka, things were much frostier with Karlie Kloss, the supermodel who married their younger son, Jared, last year.
The night of the inauguration, Ward wrote, Charlie Kushner berated Josh for his relationship with Kloss: “Josh, we expect you to do the right thing. The person you are with is not the right person.” The Kushners, Ward said, were unhappy that Kloss was not Jewish, but also thought she was uneducated, unsophisticated and not in the family’s league.
“For six years, they refused to even meet her,” Ward wrote. “Josh told Gary Cohn and others he was not allowed to bring Kloss to holiday family gatherings.”
The author said that once Josh made it clear he planned to marry Kloss, his parents met her and she agreed to convert to Judaism.
“A Kushner family member told me Seryl likely saw Josh’s marriage to Kloss as her biggest failure,” Ward wrote. “‘It was Seryl’s job to make sure the kids married the right people and perpetuated the stream, and obviously Ivanka and Karlie don’t match that.’”