Jared Kushner

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Not Just a New York Observer Anymore

It was a shocking stunt: Two days after the release of a video of Donald Trump boasting about getting away with sexual assault, Trump’s campaign brought four women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual abuse to the third presidential debate.

Trump officials wanted the women seated in the VIP box with the Trump family, just feet away from Bill and Chelsea Clinton.

The two Trump advisers behind the scheme, according to the Washington Post, were Steve Bannon, the former CEO of the website Breitbart.com, which has in recent months been accused of peddling anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, and Jared Kushner, Trump’s Orthodox Jewish son-in-law.

Debate officials banned the women from the VIP boxes. But for those who wondered whether Kushner, 35, and his wife, Ivanka Trump, had been shaken by Trump’s videotaped boasts, Kushner’s role offered a resounding answer.

Kushner’s public image at the start of the campaign was bright and clean. A real estate heir and the owner of the New York Observer, he and his wife, seemed to float above the vulgarity of the rest of the Trump family and their entourage.

That’s changed. As the campaign churned on, Kushner emerged as a central figure in the Trump orbit. Over the summer, The New York Times reported that he was regarded as “de facto campaign manager” of the Trump operation.

As Trump leaned heavily into conspiracy theories about “international bankers” that resembled classical anti-Semitic tropes, Kushner didn’t appear to back away.

That’s raised a troubling question for American Jews: What does it mean when the grandson of Holocaust survivors led a successful presidential campaign that openly plays on anti-Semitic tropes?

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