The author of a new book focused on the President’s daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner’s influence in the Trump administration warns of the danger she believes the two White House advisers present.
“I think that you can’t underestimate the dangers of these two,” Vicky Ward, the author of “Kushner, Inc.,” told CNN’s John Berman Wednesday during an interview on “New Day.” “And I think that actually (President Donald Trump) knows that.”
Asked why she believes they’re dangerous, Ward pointed to Kushner’s heavy involvement in the administration’s foreign policy, including the efforts to broker a peace agreement in the Middle East.
“Instead of solving Middle East peace, Jared nearly put us into a war in the region,” she said, as she described how he essentially took over the State Department from then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Ward also raised Kushner’s take over many international relationships when Tillerson was secretary of state, which she details in her book, and Kushner’s relationship with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, also known as MBS.
“His complete control of the relationship with MBS in Saudi Arabia meant that he kind of got played by MBS,” Ward said, adding that Saudi Arabia “made a mockery” of the US in 2017 by cutting off diplomatic ties with Qatar shortly after hosting the President, Kushner and Tillerson.
Ward reports in her book that Tillerson blamed Kushner for Trump’s initial support of the Saudi’s blockade, despite the US maintaining a military airbase on Qatar.
“That is our security on the line,” Ward said. “That was when Rex Tillerson and Jim Mattis, the defense secretary who had no idea about any of this, thought that Jared went from being a really annoying obstacle and meddler to being downright dangerous.”
CNN has reached out to both Tillerson and Mattis seeking comment.
A spokesman for Kushner’s attorney Abbe Lowell and the White House have both pushed back against the claims made in Ward’s book.
Peter Mirijanian, a spokesperson for Lowell, previously told CNN that “every point that Ms. Ward mentioned in what she called her ‘fact checking’ stage was entirely false. It seems she has written a book of fiction rather than any serious attempt to get the facts. Correcting everything wrong would take too long and be pointless.”
The White House also took aim at the book last week.
“It’s sad, but not surprising, the media would spend time promoting a book based on shady anonymous sources and false information instead of all the incredible work Jared and Ivanka are doing for the country,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said last week. “The author, on her own website, listed this book in the category of ‘fiction’ – until recently changing it. Her initial representation was accurate.”
Ward told CNN that Ivanka Trump and Kushner are “absolutely not what they seem” in pushing back against the view that they are moderating influences in the White House. She also argued that Ivanka Trump’s expansion of the child care tax care credit “smacks of self-interest.”
“It fits with her personal brand,” Ward told CNN. “She still had not sold her fashion line at the time of – that the child tax care credit went to Congress. But, meanwhile, her own fashion brand was employing these awful labor practices. The whole thing is hypocritical and lacking in any substance. It’s all about show. They are all about show.”
In the book, Ward writes that President Trump actually asked his then-chief of staff John Kelly to send Jared and Ivanka home.
“He felt, he understood they were a liability to him. He hated the negative press that they garnered,” she said, adding that Kelly made life miserable for them in the White House and it had gotten to a point where the couple were ready to leave. Efforts by CNN to reach Kelly were not immediately successful Wednesday.
“It was Trump who couldn’t pull the trigger, and I think his supporters believed he needs to fire them to save his presidency,” Ward said.
CNN’s Devan Cole contributed to this report.