Fox News panel literally laughs at bringing up Jared Kushner’s White House profiteering

Jared Kushner has raked in money for his businesses while shaping policy in the White House


Citation Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

Fox News on Thursday displayed exactly how the double standard will work in right-wing media coverage of Hunter Biden, quite literally laughing off comparisons to the vast profiteering by Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner and the conflicts of interest created by their positions in the Trump White House.

The Associated Press reported this week that presidential adviser and son-in-law Kushner sold his stake in a company he helped found that had benefited from Opportunity Zone tax breaks, a policy that Kushner had actively pushed in the White House.

Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, pushed for the Opportunity Zone tax breaks to be included in Trump’s 2017 tax overhaul. The breaks offer investors big cuts in capital gains taxes if they put money into businesses and buildings in 8,700 poor, struggling neighborhoods across the country that otherwise might not attract the money.

Kushner co-founded Cadre with his brother, Joshua, and current CEO, Ryan Williams.

A Forbes magazine cover story last year said investors were shying away from the company given the links to Kushner and the Trump administration. It quoted CEO Williams saying, “I would be lying if I said the political angle wasn't frustrating or concerning. There are people who won't work with us, and we get that.”

Still, Kushner’s financial filings filed with federal ethics officials suggest the company isn’t doing so badly. The $25 million minimum value of Kushner’s stake at the end of last year is up sharply from three years ago when it was valued at at least $5 million.

Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress have shown a renewed interest in investigating Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter — the same sort of investigation into the Biden family which Trump pressured Ukraine to undertake in 2019, kicking off the entire impeachment saga.

On America’s Newsroom, co-anchor Julie Banderas played a clip of President Donald Trump saying on Wednesday night’s episode of Hannity that Hunter Biden’s “purely corrupt” business pursuits would be an issue in the campaign. Clearly, Banderas said, Trump must care so much about battling corruption that he was willing to sacrifice his presidency to right this terrible wrong.

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Citation From the March 5, 2020, edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom

JULIE BANDERAS (CO-ANCHOR): Some have said that he risked himself getting impeached over this issue. That's how strongly he feels —

JESSICA TARLOV (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR): Well, he did get impeached.


TARLOV: He just didn't get convicted.

BANDERAS: But that's how strongly he feels, that there's something going on with Ukraine, and that an investigation should have been held. It didn't, and he's not letting this go.

TARLOV: That's how strongly he feels he doesn't want to run against Joe Biden — not that Joe Biden actually did anything wrong. What's amazing about this is the president, from the get-go, lied about what was going on here. He said, "I'm absolutely concerned about corruption." The word "corruption," as we know from the readout, was not even mentioned in the July 25th call. Suddenly, Bernie Sanders is in the lead, nationally, taking early states. We don't hear about Ukraine, Burisma, Hunter Biden for three weeks. Oh, lo and behold, Joe Biden wins in South Carolina, picking up endorsements. Suddenly Sen. Ron Johnson, one of the president's biggest defenders, interested in Burisma again, and oh, it's going to be the major campaign issue.

Co-anchor Ed Henry soon set up guest James Freeman of The Wall Street Journal to discuss Trump’s “very strong record” in office, but Freeman elaborated on the Biden topic instead. “I think it is an issue for voters to decide,” Freeman said. “Are we going to see more of these Ukraine, China, Romania kind of deals, where a completely unqualified Biden family member trails the president, in this case, if Biden wins, along to foreign countries with their hands out? Are we going to see this continue?”

Brian Brenberg of The King’s College added: “You get deeper into a mess, and then you complain that your competitors are bringing it up?”

But then Fox contributor Jessica Tarlov tried to call out the hypocrisy: “I welcome from both of you a long list of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump's qualifications to have the positions that they do. We also know that they’re making tens of millions — ”

Tarlow was immediately interrupted by Freeman, who insisted it was a “ridiculous comparison” — while Brenberg simply laughed at her reference to the obvious nepotism and ongoing profiteering by the president’s daughter and son-in-law.

And this double standard is going to keep on going, as Republicans try to make Hunter Biden an issue, while right-wing media ignore all the ways that the Trump family’s business interests frequently cross the line with policymaking.