'I want to set the record straight': Jared Kushner's father comes to his defense in op-ed

Christal Hayes

WASHINGTON – The father of Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and a key White House adviser, authored an opinion piece in the Washington Post pushing back against accusations of corruption and conflicts of interest. 

"Over the past two years, the news media have told a story about my family and our business with little regard for nuance, logic or even facts," Charles Kushner writes. "Though I am a private person and prefer to keep the details of my family’s business as private as possible, I want to set the record straight."

Charles Kushner, who founded Kushner Companies, took the rare step of speaking out after a book about his son and daughter-in-law, Ivanka Trump, was released on Tuesday that raised concerns about the pair's influence within the White House and made accusations that their positions stand to increase their personal wealth. 

The book, "Kushner, Inc.: Greed. Ambition. Corruption. The Extraordinary Story of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump," details the rise of the couple and gives a behind-the-scenes look at their roles within the White House. It chronicles Kushner's role in the Middle East and the controversy surrounding how he obtained a top-secret security clearance

"I think that you can't underestimate the dangers of these two," Vicky Ward, the author of the book, told CNN on Wednesday, adding that the pair, who are often regarded as a voice of reason within the White House, are "absolutely not what they seem." 

Charles Kushner addressed the criticism head-on, writing about his father, a Holocaust survivor, teaching him the ropes of real estate. He writes that his son, now a senior adviser to President Donald Trump and a representative for the U.S. in Middle East peace negotiations, did the same and helped their business flourish over the years. 

"Jared’s service to the country has brought unprecedented scrutiny of the Kushner Companies from the media and government investigators," he writes. "We are happy to assist with all inquiries, but I must note that we are already voluntarily adhering to the strictest standards to avoid even the appearance of conflicts."

He wrote about scrutiny the company was under in regards to a building purchased in New York before the 2008 financial crisis, when some media outlets, including the New York Times, reported that to recoup from losses on the purchase, the company was seeking partners and financing from investors in the Middle East and China.

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"Critics and media reports suggested that the Kushner Companies itself was somehow jeopardized by 666 Fifth Ave. — and that the company had been forced to seek illicit or inappropriate foreign investors," Kushner wrote. "Both narratives are false."

He continued, however, saying that a building like that in New York was a "trophy" asset, something that often appeals "to foreign investors," adding, "that's a legal and appropriate stream of funding." 

Charles Kushner says his son gave up all holdings within the company when he took a role within the White House, a decision that has affected the company's dealings.

"We have passed up many business opportunities that we normally would have pursued," he writes. "That might not be as alluring as some of the crazy stuff I read about my family and our business. But it happens to be the truth."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'I want to set the record straight': Jared Kushner's father comes to his defense in op-ed