Jared Kushner Won’t Say Trump’s Birtherism Wasn’t Racist. Which Is Like Saying It Was Racist.

In a tough interview, the president’s son-in-law deflects to protect.

In a rare interview with Axios on HBO, Jared Kushner did his best to deny that his father-in-law and boss, President Donald Trump, is a racist, offering this awkward formulation: “You can’t not be a racist for 69 years, then run for president and be a racist.”

Kushner then insisted that calling Trump a racist was bad for victims of racism: “When a lot of the Democrats call the president a racist, I think they’re doing a disservice to people who suffer because of real racism in this country.” 

But Kushner’s effort to defend Trump collapsed when reporter Jonathan Swan raised the topic of birtherism—the false, racist conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was born in Kenya, which Trump promoted for years, even into his own presidency.

“Was birtherism racist?” Swan asked.

Visibly uncomfortable, Kushner responded, “Um, look, I wasn’t really involved in that.”

“I know you weren’t,” Swan said—and repeated the question.

“Like I said, I wasn’t involved in that,” Kushner said.

The exchange continued with Kushner again attempting to distance himself from Trump’s birtherism and refusing to answer the question of whether birtherism was racist.

Swan then posed a related question: was Trump’s campaign pledge to ban Muslims from entering the United States “religiously bigoted?” Kushner would not answer this one either. Instead, he offered spin: “I think he’s here today and I think he’s doing a lot of great things for the country. And that’s what I’m proud of.”

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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