Why has Kanye West turned on his old friend Jared Kushner?

Rapper Kanye West shows a photo on his mobile phone to White House senior adviser Jared Kushner  during a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Kanye West took issue with a figure he’d previously professed his love for in his wide-ranging interview with Fox News’s Tucker Carlson: Jared Kushner.

Throughout the explosive Thursday night sitdown between the pair, Kanye addressed a number of topics, including his pro-life stance, his decision to don a red MAGA cap, labelled the body positive moment “demonic” and admonished the fashion industry for encouraging his ex-wife, Kim Kardashian, to “stick her a** out” for magazines.

In one of the more zany and unexpected exchanges, Kanye sharply criticised Mr Kushner, a former senior White House adviser to his father-in-law, Donald Trump, insinuating that he was a person solely motivated by financial gain.

“I just think it was to make money,” he told Mr Carlson of Mr Kushner’s work facilitating the Abraham Accords, a deal that sought to normalise ties between Israel and Arab nations.

Though it seems relations between the two men have soured recently, the pair of Trump-loyalists were not always at odds with one another, as jovial meetings inside the White House have been documented going back as early as 2018.

Here, we chart the chummy-turned-hostile relationship between Mr Kushner and Kanye and explain why the recent tensions have unfolded.

What were things like before?

Before he began taking public blasts at Mr Kushner, Kanye and the 41-year-old investor had a buddy-buddy relationship that goes back well over a decade.

While appearing on Fox News in August 2020 to discuss a meet-up that he’d had with The College Dropout artist, Mr Kushner shared that, “unlike others, I’m able to keep friendships across the aisle” and that he’d been friends with then-Kanye “for ten years”.

“He’s a very very special person, he’s a very successful music artist, he’s a very successful designer, he’s been very successful in a lot of the things he has done,” he told host Bret Baier.

Mr Kushner also seemed to have an outsized influence in Kanye’s political aspirations, being one of the first people that he reached out to when the billionaire rapper planned to announce his bid for president in 2020 and also being responsible for facilitating a meeting that landed him and his ex-wife, Kim Kardashian, a meeting with the president to discuss sentencing reform.

“I love Jared,” Kanye told Forbes in 2020, when they were reportedly speaking “almost daily”.

The public courtship between the two remained positive up until as recently as this past January, when they were photographed out at a dinner in Miami. According to reporting from Page Six, the dinner at the celebrity hotspot Carbone in Miami Beach “was a purely private dinner” and there was “no business agenda.”

When did things sour?

Souring between the two seems to so far only be on Kanye’s side, as Mr Kushner has yet to make any public proclamations as grand as the rapper’s.

On Thursday, Kanye took to his preferred social media platform for putting his foes on notice, Instagram, where he first attacked Mr Kushner’s venture capitalist brother, Josh.

“F*** JOSH KUSHNER,” he wrote in a post that quickly racked up more than 100,000 likes. “WHAT IF I HAD 10% OF KARLIE KLOSS UNDERWEAR LINE WITHOUT YOU KNOWING. AND YOU ONLY HAD 5%,” he added, in apparent reference to Josh Kushner’s firm, Thrive Capital, which invested in Kardashian’s SKIMS.

Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, blasts Jared and Josh Kushner on his Instagram account (Instagram/@Kanye West)

The Yeezy designer then turned his ire on his one-time friend and phone buddy, Jared. “JARED WAS HOLDING TRUMP BACK,” he wrote in a post in all capital letters, before noting that Mr Kushner’s wife, Ivanka Trump, “IS FIRE.”

It’s unclear what stake Josh Kushner’s firm has in SKIMS, but the most recent rounds that Thrive participated in was back in January 2022. Kanye also reportedly owns a stake in his ex-wife’s shapewear company.

What did Kanye say to Tucker Carlson about Jared?

If the earlier Instagram posts had left any doubt that Kanye had actually fostered any ill will toward his one-time dinner companion, it was immediately cleared up on Thursday night when the interview between Kanye and Mr Carlson aired on the Fox News primetime program.

Kanye took aim at the ex-president’s son-in-law while discussing the role his former friend played in normalising ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in 2020, alleging that he was only motivated to turn a profit.

“I just think it was to make money,” Kanye said, before walking back his statement and asking the Fox News host if that was “too heavy-handed to put in this platform,” to which Carlson responded “no.”

Though he had some choice words for him on Thursday regarding the peace negotiations in the Middle East, Kanye once praised Mr Kushner for the work he achieved, which he highlighted as something no one could’ve done in “30 years”.

“Jared Kushner will have done more for peace in the Middle East than anyone in 30 years,” he tweeted on 15 September 2020.

Kanye’s critiques, however, aren’t completely unfounded, as the former White House adviser is currently being probed by the House Oversight Committee over a $2bn investment that the Saudi Arabian government gave to a firm created by Mr Kushner, which was deposited in accounts shortly after he departed from the White House last year.

Still, the famed rapper-turned-entrepreneur took to calling out Mr Kushner for matters other than his motivation for monetary gain, shaming him and other so-called “handlers” in the White House for getting in the way of Trump’s agenda.

“These guys might have been really been holding Trump back and being very much a handler right then,” Kanye said of Mr Kushner and his brother, Josh, on Thursday. “They loved to look at me or look at Trump like we’re so crazy and they are businessmen.”

And what about Trump?

Both the former president and Kanye have repeatedly embraced their unwavering support of each other’s ambitions - political or otherwise.

In December 2016, just weeks before the then-president elect’s inauguration, there was the infamous incident where the rapper descended from elevator from Trump Tower after meeting with the former real estate mogul and posed for a photo-op to a flurry of photographers and press.

“Just friends, just friends. He’s a good man, doing well. We’ve been friends for a long time,” Mr Trump said of the pair’s meeting.

Throughout the Trump administration, Kanye continued to show his support for the then-president and don the red hat, a decision that he told Mr Carlson on Thursday drew ire from within his closest circles.

His “so-called friends slash handlers” reportedly warned him that his career would be over if he continued to stump for Mr Trump, adding that they said: “I would be killed for wearing the hat.”

Asked on Thursday if his feelings for the 45th president have altered in the years that have passed since he left office, Kanye paused and even eked out a smile as he seemed to reflect on the question and his feelings about the man he once called “superman”.

“Come on man, Trump’s the s**t. What do you mean? He has his own buildings. What are you talking about? He’s like Ralph Lauren. He made Ivanka,” he said to a giggling Mr Carlson.

Outside of the two men sharing great admiration towards one another, it would seem that the former president also shares common ground in his dislike for his son-in-law.

According to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman’s new book, Confidence Man, Trump was once only seconds away from firing off a tweet that would’ve alerted his daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her husband, Jared Kushner, that they were fired. Ms Haberman also reported that the former president also grew tired of his son-in-law’s presence and described him as sounding “like a child”.