Pence’s chief of staff asked Kushner to challenge Trump on his doomed effort to overturn the election, according to a new book.
Trump was obsessed with the false notion that Pence could overturn the results, the book said.
Kushner said he was too busy with the Middle East to talk to Trump.
Jared Kushner told Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, that he was too busy focusing on the Middle East to challenge President Donald Trump on his unprecedented effort to overturn the 2020 election results, according to a new book by ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl.
After losing the 2020 election, Trump effectively threw Pence under the bus by falsely suggesting that the vice president could unilaterally upend the results when Congress gathered to certifying the Electoral College vote on January 6. Despite statements from Trump to the contrary, Pence did not have the power to do this. Vice presidents preside over the Electoral College certification process, but it’s a largely ceremonial role.
The baseless notion that Pence had the power to overturn the election had become a “Trump obsession, and Marc Short wanted Kushner to convince the president that the idea was nothing but a fantasy, Karl wrote in the forthcoming book, “Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show.”
Karl said that Short believed Kushner was intelligence enough to understand Trump was “flat-out wrong.” Privately, the president’s son-in-law was telling people he knew that Trump lost the election, Karl wrote, and he was aware Pence couldn’t do anything to change that.
“Please talk to the president,” Short said to Kushner during a phone call, per Karl. “He listens to you. Explain to him that the vice president’s role in counting electoral votes is entirely ceremonial. He has no power whatsoever to reject any state’s electoral votes.”
According to the book, Kushner responded, “You know, I’m really focused on the Middle East right now,” adding, “I haven’t really been involved in the election stuff since Rudy Giuliani came in.”
Short implored Kushner to intervene, underscoring that this is a “big problem,” Karl wrote. “The president is being misled. Please talk to him.”
Kushner replied that he really didn’t want to get involved, Karl said, stating that his “focus is on Middle East peace.”
Over the course of the Trump era, Kushner was intricately involved in the administration’s Middle East policy.
Kushner spearheaded the Trump administration’s “peace plan” for the Middle East. But Kushner’s roadmap for peace involved no consultation with Palestinian leaders. Critics of the plan dismissed it as a PR stunt for then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a close ally of Trump’s, to boost his chances in an impending election. Palestinian leaders rejected the plan.
Kushner also helped broker the Abraham Accords. The UAE and Bahrain formalized diplomatic ties with Israel via the landmark accords in September 2020. Two more Arab countries, Morocco and Sudan, joined the Abraham Accords shortly after.
In March 2021, Kushner wrote an op-ed in which he took credit for fostering the “last vestiges of what has been known as the Arab-Israeli conflict.” But this victory lap was premature, with Israel and Hamas once again fighting just two months later in May 2021 — marking the worst violence the region had since since 2014.
May’s conflict made Trump question whether Kushner had accomplished “peace in the Middle East after all,” per a CNN report in June.
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