Although himself and his relatives were always famous, Donald Trump's vast and influential family has really been thrown into the spotlight since The Donald's burgeoning political aspirations started to become reality. Among the many rich and famous attached to the Trump family is Jared Kushner, heir and CEO of the Kushner Companies, and husband of Trump's daughter Ivanka. Kushner's name has appeared more and more in recent months as his involvement in the Trump campaign has increased, and you may hear it even more in the event of a Trump presidency. Who is Jared Kushner, Donald Trump's son-in-law? He and Trump actually have a lot in common.
Much like Trump himself, Kushner was born into a wealthy family involved in urban real estate and has been influential in growing both his net worth and the family name. Kushner's grandfather Joseph, a Holocaust survivor, started the family's construction business in the 1950s, before Jared's father Charles Kushner took over and turned the company into a multimillion dollar real estate empire. However, the family name hasn't remained unblemished — in 2005, Charles was sentenced to two years in federal prison for 18 counts of tax evasion, witness tampering, and making illegal campaign donations (Chris Christie, then the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, was the prosecutor who negotiated the plea deal).
Since Jared took over the reigns as CEO in 2008, the company has made record sales, including over $2 billion in transactions during 2014 alone.
Another of Kushner's most prominent roles is as publishing magnate. In 2006, Kushner purchased The New York Observer, a weekly local newspaper, for $10 million with hopes of reviving the struggling paper, which was then losing upwards of $2 million per year. In 2011, Kushner accomplished his goal by turning a small profit, which has continued to improve since. Recently, however, there was some friction concerning the Observer staff's involvement with the Trump campaign when an editor helped craft a pro-Israel speech for Trump that Kushner was involved in writing. The staff has now been prohibited from providing any input to the Trump campaign. If Trump wins the election in November, Kushner's role may have to decrease further in order to avoid scrutiny, but a tenuous comprise seems to have been reached for now.
Despite his own and his family's successes, Kushner's role in the limelight now is mostly due to his wife, Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka. Ivanka and Kushner married in 2009, after she converted to Judaism for their impending nuptials. Since then, the couple has had three children, Arabella, 4, Joseph, 2, and Theo, born just last month.
Ivanka and Kushner each run their own businesses, but say that they take time to observe Jewish customs like Shabbat dinners on Friday nights. "She said, 'If we're going to do Shabbos, I'm going to cook.' She never cooked before in her life and became a great cook," Kushner told Vogue for an interview last year. "So for Friday, she'll make dinner for just the two of us, and we turn our phones off for 25 hours."
After his success in both real estate and publishing, the world may get to know Kushner in yet another career as an advisor in a potential Trump White House — he's been informally advising the campaign up until recently, when Trump placed him in charge of preliminary planning for a presidential transition team. Kushner has proven over the years that he's got what it takes to run a business, just like his father-in-law, and he might just get the chance to parlay those skills into the political world.