- Pence’s chief of staff asked Kushner to challenge Trump on his doomed attempt to overthrow the election, according to a new book.
- Trump was obsessed with the false notion that Pence could overthrow the results, the book states.
- Kushner said he was too busy with the Middle East to talk to Trump.
Jared Kushner told Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, that he was too busy focusing on the Middle East to challenge President Donald Trump on his unprecedented efforts to overturn the 2020 election result, according to a new book by ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl .
After losing the 2020 election, Trump actually threw Pence under the bus by falsely suggesting that the vice president could unilaterally raise the results when Congress convened to confirm the January 6 vote. Despite statements from Trump to the contrary, Pence did not have the power to do so. Vice Presidents preside over the Electoral College certification process, but it is a predominantly ceremonial role.
The baseless notion that Pence had the power to overthrow the election had become a “Trump obsession, and Marc Short wanted Kushner to convince the president that the idea was nothing more than a fantasy,” Karl wrote in the forthcoming book. , “Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show.”
Karl said Short believed Kushner was intelligent enough to understand that Trump was “flatly wrong.” Privately, the president’s son-in-law told people he knew Trump lost the election, Karl wrote, and he was aware that Pence could do nothing to change it.
“Please talk to the president,” Short told Kushner during a phone call, according to Karl. “He is listening to you. Explain to him that the role of the Vice President in counting electoral votes is entirely ceremonial. He has no power whatsoever to reject any state’s electoral votes.”
According to the book, Kushner replied, “You know, I’m really focused on the Middle East right now,” adding, “I have not really been involved in the election since Rudy Giuliani came in.”
Short begged Kushner to intervene, stressing that this is a “big problem,” Karl wrote. “The president is being misled. Please talk to him.”
Kushner replied that he really did not want to get involved, Karl said, stating that his “focus is on peace in the Middle East.”
During the Trump era, Kushner was intricately involved in the administration’s Middle East policy.
Kushner spearheaded the Trump administration’s “peace plan” for the Middle East. But Kushner’s roadmap for peace involved no consultation with Palestinian leaders. Critics of the plan dismissed it as a public relations stunt for then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a close ally of Trump, to increase his chances in an upcoming election. Palestinian leaders rejected the plan.
Kushner also helped mediate the Abrahamic agreement. The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain formalized diplomatic ties with Israel through the landmark agreements of September 2020. Two more Arab countries, Morocco and Sudan, joined the Abrahamic Treaty shortly thereafter.
In March 2021, Kushner wrote a statement in which he took credit for promoting the “last remnants of what has become known as the Arab-Israeli conflict.” But this round of victory was premature, with Israel and Hamas fighting again just two months later in May 2021 – marking the worst violence the region has had since 2014.
May’s conflict prompted Trump to question whether Kushner had, after all, achieved “peace in the Middle East,” according to a June CNN report.