Jared Kushner’s memoir of his time as a senior adviser to Donald Trump has been labelled “earnest and soulless” in a brutal New York Times review.
Breaking History: A White House Memoir was derided as the self-serving, selective musings of a “cocky young real estate heir who happened to unwrap a lot of Big Macs beside his father-in-law” by the Times book critic Dwight Garner.
Mr Kushner talks up his deal-making shrewdness while rolling out a stream of cliches in the tone of a “college admissions essay”, Mr Garner writes.
“Kushner looks like a mannequin, and he writes like one,” Mr Garner concludes, while ignoring the “chaos, the alienation of allies, the breaking of laws and norms, the flirtations with dictators”.
The 41-year-old Kushner peppers his book with praise from colleagues, who alternatively call him a “genius”, “amazing” and one of the “best lobbyists”.
A therapist might consider this a “cry for help”, Mr Garner writes.
Mr Kushner was considered to be the second most powerful person in the White House after Mr Trump, and was given a vast array of responsibilities from solving Middle East peace, fixing the opioid crisis, overhauling the Republican Party and running the 2020 re-election campaign.
He frequently locked horns with other members of Trump’s inner circle, and forced out several loyalists including Corey Lewandowski and Steve Bannon.
Mr Garner writes that Mr Trump’s first Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, begged him to stay out of international affairs, and he too was removed from office by presidential tweet soon afterwards.
“Once in the White House, Kushner became Little Jack Horner, placing a thumb in everyone else’s pie, and he wonders why he was disliked.”
The memoir delves into his father Charles Kushner’s jailing after hiring a prostitue to seduce his brother-in-law and sending footage of the encounter to his sister.
Kushner Jr blames the then-United States attorney Chris Christie for over-zealously pursuing the case.
He also speaks briefly of his courtship of Ivanka, during which they dined on the French Riviera with Rupert Murdoch, Billy Joel and Bono.
But the majority of the near 500-page tome is focused on Mr Kushner’s four years in the White House, and contains only the briefest mentions of the January 6 riots or fictitious election fraud claims promoted by his father-in-law.
Mr Kushner’s loyalty to Mr Trump “remains absolute”.
“This book is like a tour of a once majestic 18th-century wooden house, now burned to its foundations, that focuses solely on, and rejoices in, what’s left amid the ashes: the two singed bathtubs, the gravel driveway and the mailbox,” Mr Garner writes.