Where Jared’s words came from
Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer is often referred to as “Bibi’s brain,” for his close relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
But according to a new book, he might sometimes play the role of “Jared’s brain,” too.
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During the 2016 presidential campaign, Jared Kushner was widely credited for the content and unusual style — a rare-at-the-time teleprompter moment — of his father-in-law’s speech in front of the hard-line Jewish lobbying group AIPAC.
But writer Emily Jane Fox, whose book “Born Trump” is set for release Tuesday, writes that it was Dermer who essentially dictated the speech for Kushner, who then loaded it into the teleprompter for Trump.
On a call with Kushner ahead of the speech, Fox writes, Dermer “talked for a solid hour about the U.N., about Iran, about hard lines and language that was very important to the Israelis, and about many people who would be in the audience that day.”
For Kushner, who was scrambling to put together a Middle East policy agenda for his father-in-law, Fox writes, Dermer’s lecture was like “getting your hands on the answer key the night before the final exam.”
The day after his conversation with Dermer, Fox writes, Kushner sent a copy of the speech over to Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson for review. Adelson promptly forwarded it back to Dermer. “The text Dermer read was like a transcript of what he had told Jared in their phone call, right down to the jokes,” Fox writes. “It was basically wholesale theft.”
Dermer said he briefed Kushner, as he did top officials on many campaigns, but denied that the son-in-law took dictation. “The suggestion that I dictated Trump’s AIPAC speech to Jared Kushner is ridiculous,” Dermer said in a statement to POLITICO.
Three years after Trump officially announced his long-shot campaign for the presidency, interest in what, exactly, happened during that campaign has barely dissipated.
One of the most anticipated books that was expected to tell the definitive tale of how Trump won was a sequel to “Game Change” by the writers Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. That project, however, was canceled by Penguin Press after allegations of sexual harassment were made against Halperin.
The Trump team had participated at length in that project. At a dinner at the White House last year, sources said, Halperin sat at the table with the president, Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus, Hope Hicks, Dan Scavino and Kellyanne Conway, among others, while they shared anecdotes about life on the campaign. Kushner popped in and out. Even former inner circle Trump aides who rarely speak to the media, like Keith Schiller and Johnny McEntee, were in the room and chiming in with nostalgic nuggets.
One person in the room said that Trump, himself, discussed at great length the night of the “Access Hollywood” tape release, and the day after. He reiterated that he had never considered dropping out because of it.
It’s not clear whether the material collected by Halperin and Heilemann will be repurposed in some way for another project. But for now, its absence has left some room for other writers to fill. Fox appears to be one of them.
Fox, a writer for Vanity Fair, interviewed 150 people for her chronicle of the Trump children, whom she tracks from childhood, through their teen years, to their roles on the campaign and transition (she leaves out Barron, Trump’s 12-year-old son). The book ends on inauguration weekend. It is not an authorized biography, but it’s not clear whether the family participated, in some way.
Three chapters are devoted to Ivanka Trump — one on her childhood; one on her relationship with Kushner; and one on the entire Kushner clan. Each of the other Trump children — Don Jr., Eric and Tiffany — gets one chapter apiece.
In a few short excerpts obtained by POLITICO, Fox portrays Kushner as a quiet but cutthroat player on his father-in-law’s campaign — a man who waffled between playing the moderate cop foil to his wild father-in-law, and pointing fingers at others at times, rather than shouldering any blame.