White House senior advisor Jared Kushner repeatedly refused to say in an interview with Axios aired on HBO Sunday whether his father-in-law President Trump’s conspiracy theories about Barack Obama’s heritage were racist.
After Kushner told interviewer Jonathan Swan that he had never seen Trump say or do anything racist, Swan asked, “Was birtherism racist?”
“Look, I wasn’t really involved in that,” Kushner responded.
“I know you weren’t,” Swan said. “Was it racist?”
“Like, I said, I wasn’t involved in that,” Kushner said.
Pressed a third time if it was racist, Kushner responded, “Look, I know who the president is, and I have not seen anything in him that is racist. So again, I was not involved in that.”
When asked if he wished Trump hadn’t promoted those theories, Kushner echoed himself: “Like I said, I was not involved in that. That was a long time ago.”’
In the years leading up to his 2016 presidential run, Trump was one of the leading proponents of the conspiracy theory that Obama was not born in the United States.
Jared Kushner deflects when asked if he disapproves of Donald Trump’s promotion of birtherism, saying he wasn’t involved with it. @DCTVny @HBODocs pic.twitter.com/YTYaDCJJVa— Axios (@axios) June 2, 2019
In another segment of the interview, Kushner, the grandson of Holocaust survivors, said that his family’s rescue from “the precipice of life and death” showed “how great this country is.” But he defended the administration’s decision to lower the cap on refugee entries by 72%. “You can’t have all of them come into your country,” he said.
Kushner also discussed his long-gestating peace plan, saying that Palestinians “should have self-determination” but not going into detail about what that would look like. When asked whether Palestinians would be free from Israeli governmental or military control, Kushner responded, “I think that it’s a high bar.”