Ivanka Trump has said in the past she was scared to bring dates home to father Donald, but it seems the Kushners were just as protective of their son.
Because while Jared’s grandparents came from humble beginnings, they worked hard to make their own fortune in the 1950s and eventually left a real estate portfolio to their son (and Jared’s father) Charles. They could never have imagined their grandson would one day make it to America’s White House.
So what are Jared’s parents like?
Charles ‘Chanan’ Kushner
Charles Kushner is the son of Holocaust survivors who emigrated from the country now known as Belarus to the United States in 1949. The story of the group they were part of was even portrayed in the 2008 film Defiance starring Daniel Craig. Charles also has a Hebrew name (Chanan), after his mother’s brother who died in a concentration camp during the Holocaust.
The couple brought up their children in an Orthodox Jewish community in Livingston, New Jersey. Seryl was against her sons marrying outside their faith, and may be the reason their eldest son Jared briefly split from Ivanka Trump in 2008 – at least according to author Vicky Ward in her book Kushner Inc. It’s also been reported that Charles and Seryl initially refused to meet Ivanka. Ivanka later converted to Judaism, as did supermodel Karlie Kloss, who wed their other son Joshua.
Building an empire
Charles created Kushner Companies in 1985 and the family real estate development business employs his eldest child Jared, as well as wife Seryl and daughter Nicole. In 2007, the company made a record-breaking US$1.8 billion investment in the Manhattan office building 666 Fifth Avenue.
By 2020, Kushner Companies had more than 20,000 flats and around 13 million sq ft of office, retail and industrial space. Charles and Seryl’s daughter Dara isn’t involved in the company and Joshua has separate businesses. Joshua did however end up taking on some family assets to avoid a conflict of interest when Jared began working for the US government in 2017.
#Trump has just pardoned Charles Kushner, his son-in-law Jared's father, who was jailed for Election Campaign Financial Fraud, Witness Tampering, and Tax Evasion.
Because, family, innit. pic.twitter.com/JCTMK4sRCh
— John O'Connell (@jdpoc) December 24, 2020
In 2006, Charles was sentenced to two years in prison for making illegal donations in 2003 to then-New Jersey Governor James McGreevey’s campaign, plus tax evasion and witness tampering. (He hired a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law and sent a video of it to his sister, because he got angry about the pair cooperating with the FBI in his case.)
Jared took over the family business until he joined Donald Trump’s administration in 2017. Charles – who had previously made donations to the Democrat party – then switched his allegiance to the Republicans by making donations to the Trump campaign. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Charles was pardoned for his crimes by then-President Trump in 2020.
But Kushner Companies’ scandals don’t end there. In 2018, the company landed a US$210,000 fine from New York City regulators for filing false documents with construction permits. Then in March 2019, a New York councilman accused the company of putting building tenants in danger after it emerged their occupancy certificates had expired.
More trouble in paradise?
These days, Charles and Seryl can be seen enjoying the Florida sunshine with Javanka and their children, who have all relocated to the state where the couple own a holiday home.
Ivanka’s in-laws haven’t been spotted with Donald Trump, however, as Jared is rumoured to have fallen out with the former president – for whom he served as adviser on the Middle East. It’s currently unclear which side reportedly cut ties.
Note: This story was originally published on SCMP and has been republished on this website.