Checking out of efforts to persuade Donald Trump to concede defeat in the 2020 election, Jared Kushner instead took an online MasterClass from the bestselling thriller writer James Patterson before “batting out” 40,000 words of his own White House memoir, the authors of a new Trump book reported.
The New York Times chief White House correspondent, Peter Baker, included the detail in an examination of how Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, tried to distance themselves from efforts to overturn Joe Biden’s victory which culminated in the deadly attack on the US Capitol on 6 January 2021.
Baker and his wife, Susan Glasser of the New Yorker, will publish The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021, in September.
Baker wrote: “On Thursday 5 November 2020, barely 24 hours after President Donald J Trump claimed in the middle of the night that ‘Frankly, we did win this election’, Jared Kushner woke up in his Kalorama mansion and announced to his wife that it was time to leave Washington.
“’We’re moving to Miami,’ he said.”
With the whole Trump family hugely unpopular in their home city, New York, the move went ahead. Donald Trump, for decades a fixture of Manhattan society, now lives in Florida too.
The Times said Kushner’s decision to distance himself from his father-in-law’s lies about election fraud and to prepare to leave Washington “opened a vacuum around the president that was filled by conspiracy theorists like Rudolph W Giuliani and Sidney Powell”.
Kushner, Baker said, was more interested in wrapping up his work on Middle East diplomacy, the subject of his memoir and also, opponents allege, the source of a lucrative deal to set up his life out of office.
The House oversight committee is investigating Whether Kushner used his White House position to seal a $2bn investment from a Saudi Arabian wealth fund. Kushner denies wrongdoing.
Alleged wrongdoing by Giuliani, Powell, other advisers and Trump himself is the subject of investigations by another House committee set to begin public hearings on the Capitol attack and election subversion.
The Times said Kushner “brushed off” an approach from Marc Short, chief of staff to Mike Pence, when the vice-president was being pressured to block certification of Biden’s victory at the Capitol on 6 January.
Kushner reportedly said: “Look, when Rudy got involved, I stopped being involved,” added that Pence was “a big boy”, and said: “I’m too busy working on Middle East peace right now, Marc.”
Under Trump, the US brokered the Abraham Accords, normalizing relations between Israel and four Arab countries.
Kushner’s book, Breaking History: A White House Memoir, is due out on 23 August.
As Trump insisted he would serve a second term, the Times said, “Mr Kushner set about chronicling the first. He even took an online MasterClass on how to write a book, taught by the prolific best-selling novelist James Patterson. In the course of a two-week stretch after the election, he secretly batted out 40,000 words of a first draft.”
Patterson has written two thrillers with Bill Clinton. His online MasterClass promises to teach students “how to create characters, write dialogue, and keep readers turning the page”.
He is not the only writer to help Kushner. The Guardian understands Trump’s son-in-law has worked with three ghost writers.
They are Ken Kurson, a former editor of the New York Observer who was pardoned by Trump on cyberstalking charges but then pleaded guilty after being charged with spying on his wife; Avi Berkowitz, an aid who worked on Middle East policy; and Cassidy Dumbaulda Kushner aide married to Nick Luna, Trump’s “body man” in the White House.