Jared Kushner’s hidden genius? To make terrible decisions – yet keep failing upwards

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<span>Photograph: Shereen Talaat/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Shereen Talaat/Reuters

Having selflessly served the public for four long years, Jared Kushner has decided it’s time to step away from politics and apply his unique talents elsewhere. According to mysterious sources said to be “familiar with the plan”, Kushner is preparing to launch a Miami-based investment firm called Affinity Partners. The exact nature of the firm is unclear; however, it will reportedly have an office in Israel, which will pursue investments connecting Israel’s economy with India, north Africa and the Gulf. Now that he has oh-so-successfully made peace in the Middle East, Kushner appears to have decided he deserves to make a little profit.

It must have been hard for Kushner, who former ambassador Nikki Haley once described as a “hidden genius that no one understands”, to give up his political career. Still, the decision was probably made easier by the fact that said “career” was simply a cushy “senior adviser” job with his father-in-law, and that ended when Donald Trump lost the election. Since then, Kushner and his wife, Ivanka, have been spending their days scooping up Miami mansions. One presumes the pair haven’t exactly been inundated with invitations to join the Biden White House, so the fact that the likes of Reuters are running headlines announcing Kushner is “to leave politics” is quite the PR victory on his part.

That’s not Kushner’s only victory. While he might have the charisma of a soggy tissue, Mr Ivanka Trump seems to have a knack for failing upwards. In 2007, for example, a 26-year-old Kushner urged his family’s real estate company to pay a then-record $1.8bn to purchase 666 Fifth Avenue, a skyscraper in Manhattan. This turned out to be a terrible decision. It might have had devastating financial consequences for the Kushner family had it not been for a sudden stroke of luck: in 2018, in the middle of Trump’s presidency, a Canadian asset-management company, Brookfield Asset Management, agreed to take a 99-year lease on the building, paying a huge amount of rent upfront. Funnily enough, the Qatar Investment Authority was a major investor in Brookfield and, at the time, Kushner was backing a blockade on the Gulf kingdom. This was all a complete coincidence, and there was no intention of persuading Kushner to reverse his support for the blockade, Qatar has stressed. And, to be fair, the blockade wasn’t lifted until this year. Still, if Kushner keeps running into coincidences like that one imagines his investment firm will do very well indeed.

  • Arwa Mahdawi is a Guardian columnist

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