Thought Catalog for thinkfluencers Forbes magazine has managed to land an exclusive interview with Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, despite the fact that he “almost never speaks publicly.” And how’d they manage that? “Interviews with him and a dozen people around him and the Trump camp lead to an inescapable fact: The quiet, enigmatic young mogul delivered the presidency to the most fame-hungry, bombastic candidate in American history.” Oh, haha. Right. (Also: They put him on the cover.)
The piece contains essentially no news value, comprised as it is of several thousand words of meaningless corporatese about data and ROI: At one point, Kushner literally references Moneyball. Bizarrely, Forbes twice describes Kushner as having run the campaign’s “secret data operation” from a “secret back office” in San Antonio, which “would drive every strategic decision during the final months of the campaign.” The Trump campaign’s use of data generally and the San Antonio office specifically was extensively reported on during the election, and Bloomberg Businessweek in particular has done excellent work on this beat. In any case, the point is: There is nothing secret about Trump’s San Antonio-based data operation. What is true is that the extent of Kushner’s involvement in the data operation was not precisely clear—but then again, it still pretty much is:
Just as Trump’s unorthodox style allowed him to win the Republican nomination while spending far less than his more traditional opponents, Kushner’s lack of political experience became an advantage. Unschooled in traditional campaigning, he was able to look at the business of politics the way so many Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have sized up other bloated industries.
Television and online advertising? Small and smaller. Twitter and Facebook would fuel the campaign, as key tools for not only spreading Trump’s message but also targeting potential supporters, scraping massive amounts of constituent data and sensing shifts in sentiment in real time.
“We weren’t afraid to make changes. We weren’t afraid to fail. We tried to do things very cheaply, very quickly. And if it wasn’t working, we would kill it quickly,” Kushner says. “It meant making quick decisions, fixing things that were broken and scaling things that worked.”
Quick decisions! Fixing things that were broken! Scaling things that worked! What does any of that mean? Nobody knows! Probably Kushner doesn’t even know, though he has tapped into the now age-old technique favored by Silicon Valley wunderkinds: successfully marketing everything you do to make it appear impressive and new. “It’s hard to overstate and hard to summarize Jared’s role in the campaign,” venture-capital vampire Peter Thiel told Forbes. (You don’t say.) “If Trump was the CEO, Jared was effectively the chief operating officer.” Oh, well that explains it.
The piece—which barely touches upon any of the questionable aspects of Jared’s activities—bolsters such quotes about what an ambiguously brilliant political entrepreneur young Jared is from the billionaire donor class with platitudes about family and how much both Kushner and Donald Trump really, really, really love Ivanka:
Jared and Ivanka met at a business lunch and started dating in 2007. During the courtship Kushner had met Donald only a few times in passing when, sensing the relationship was getting serious, he asked Trump for a meeting. Over lunch at the Trump Grill (which Trump briefly made a household name with his infamous taco bowl tweet), they discussed the couple’s future. “I said, ‘Ivanka and I are getting serious, and we’re starting go down that path,’” Kushner says and laughs.
“He said, ‘You’d better be serious on this.’”
Yes, wow, that sounds just like something he would say. Question, though: Does Jared call Donald “Dad?”