Social media users had a field day after The New York Times published a scathing review of a new memoir by Jared Kushner—former Republican President Donald Trump's son-in-law and one of his White House senior advisors.
Kushner spoke about his time in the Trump administration in Breaking History: A White House Memoir, which was published earlier this month by Broadside Books.
The publisher described Kushner's memoir as an insightful read taking readers "inside debates in the Oval Office, battles at the United Nations, meetings in Arab palaces, and intense negotiations in North Korea, China, Mexico."
But Times book critic Dwight Garner feels very differently, describing the book as a "soulless and very selective memoir."
He says Kushner writes "as if he believes foreign dignitaries (and less-than dignitaries) prized him in the White House because he was the fresh ideas guy, the starting point guard, the dimpled go-getter."
"He [Kushner] betrays little cognizance that he was in demand because, as a landslide of other reporting has demonstrated, he was in over his head, unable to curb his avarice, a cocky young real estate heir who happened to unwrap a lot of Big Macs beside his father-in-law, the erratic and misinformed and similarly mercenary leader of the free world."
Garner observes Kusher not only "looks like a mannequin" but also "writes like one," noting he:
"... almost entirely ignores the chaos, the alienation of allies, the breaking of laws and norms, the flirtations with dictators, the comprehensive loss of America’s moral leadership, and so on, ad infinitum, to speak about his boyish tinkering (the “mechanic”) with issues he was interested in."
He likens the book to "a tour of a once majestic 18th-century wooden house, now burned to its foundations, that focuses solely on, and rejoices in, what’s left amid the ashes," saying the book's tone is similar to a "college admissions essay" full of "political cliché."
Moreover, Kushner "poignantly, repeatedly beats his own drum," recalling "every drop of praise he’s ever received; he brings these home and he leaves them on the doorstep."
At one point, Garner points out once in the White House, Kushner "became Little Jack Horner, placing a thumb in everyone else’s pie, and he wonders why he was disliked."
Garner eventually concludes his review of Breaking History by pointing out Kushner suggests he had no knowledge of the January 6 insurrection "until late in the day." He adds Kushner "seems to have no beliefs beyond carefully managed appearances and the art of the deal."
The review quickly took social media by storm and the reactions were undeniably hilarious.
Several former members of the Trump administration published books since leaving the White House and received criticism for painting what critics have suggested is a revisionist history of the administration's numerous controversies, most notably the allegations that Russian operatives intefered in the 2016 general election to ensure Trump would win.
Kushner, who in the final year of his father-in-law's administration played an influential role in its COVID-19 response, advised Trump early on in the pandemic that the media was exaggerating its threat.
Kushner's input no doubt influenced what The Washington Postdescribed as "denial and dysfunction" in the White House as the nation had only begun to grapple with the impact of tens of thousands of deaths in short order.
More recently, Kushner was interviewed by the House Select Committee tasked with investigating the events of January 6, 2021, the day a mob of Trump's supporters stormed the United States Capitol.
Kushner met with committee members for more than six hours and was described as "cooperative and friendly" amid continued concerns about Trump and his associates' attempts to discredit the committee's work.