'Fucking Shabbat': Trump Reportedly Irked by Jared Kushner's Lack of Availability

Despite Kushner getting special permission from rabbis to work on Shabbat at times, former U.S. President Donald Trump took issue with his son-in-law's observance of Shabbat

Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels
Washington
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US President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum, on Tuesday, May 23, 2017
US President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum, on Tuesday, May 23, 2017Credit: Gali Tibbon/AP
Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels
Washington

WASHINGTON – Former U.S. President Donald Trump reportedly vented about son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner's unavailability on Shabbat, according to an excerpt from Maggie Haberman's hotly anticipated book "Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America."

"In the fall of 2016, ahead of the election, Trump once tried to call Kushner to complain about why the situation in Florida was bad for him. Kushner, who usually didn’t answer his phone on the Sabbath, was unresponsive. 'Fucking Shabbat,' Trump groused," Haberman wrote in an excerpt first published by The Atlantic, "asking no one in particular if his Jewish son-in-law was really religious or just avoiding work. When I later asked him about this, he denied that he had said it."

Jared KushnerCredit: FADEL SENNA - AFP

Despite the reported timing of Trump's remarks, Kushner reportedly worked on Shabbat in October 2016 to help steer damage control resulting from the Access Hollywood tapes revealing Trump's lewd comments from 2005 about him being able to forcefully kiss women and "grab them by the pussy" thanks to his fame.

This was the first of several times during Trump's presidency where Kushner worked on Shabbat. After Trump's victory, he and his wife Ivanka were reportedly permitted to travel in a car from the presidential inauguration under the principle in Jewish law of pikuach nefesh, which suggests preserving an individual's safety over religious considerations.

During the initial months of Trump's presidency, however, observers speculated that Kushner's adherence to Shabbat kept him out of the loop during tumultuous moments such as Trump's Friday evening executive order on immigration and refugees.

Kushner and Ivanka would later receive rabbinic approval to fly with the president during his May 2017 international trip, which included a stop in Israel, and he would later reportedly receive permission to work on Shabbat during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Haberman details are just the latest example of Kushner's observance playing a role in the palace intrigue associated with the prior administration, published in recent tell-alls about the Trump presidency.

According to former Trump advisor Peter Navarro, a group of Trump loyalists (including Jewish megadonors Bernard Marcus, Ronald Lauder and Keith Frankel) planned to carry out a "coup d'etat" against Kushner on a Shabbat in June 2020, while Kushner was offline, replacing him with Steve Bannon, to head Trump's reelection campaign to plummeting poll numbers.

In his recently published memoir, Kushner acknowledged that his family's observance would clash with their professional responsibilities and he was unable to observe as strictly as he would have preferred, and that they were eager to “go back to fully observing the Sabbath on Friday evenings at sundown" following Trump's loss in the 2020 election.

He also detailed how after initially breaking up with Ivanka while dating because she wasn't Jewish, they would later reconcile and have Shabbat dinners when she began considering converting.

She previously described her family's Shabbat rituals in her book "Women Who Work," where she wrote that “from sundown Friday to Saturday night, my family and I observe the Shabbat. During this time, we disconnect completely — no emails, no TV, no phone calls, no Internet."

"We enjoy uninterrupted time together and it’s wonderful. It’s enormously important to unplug and devote that time to each other. We enjoy long meals together, we read, we take walks in the city, we nap, and just hang out," she added.

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