Facing pressure over a controversial Donald Trump tweet, the presumptive Republican nominee’s Jewish son-in-law defended the candidate as “an incredibly loving and tolerant person” in an open letter Wednesday.
Jared Kushner, husband to Ivanka Trump, insisted that his father-in-law was not an anti-Semite or a racist, despite a much-criticized tweet that depicted presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton against a backdrop of cash and stamped with a six-pointed Star of David.
“The worst that his detractors can fairly say about him is that he has been careless in retweeting imagery that can be interpreted as offensive,” he wrote.
But at least one of his family members disagreed with Kushner’s reasoning, which invoked his grandparents’ survival of the Holocaust and escape to America.
“Different take-away from our Grandparents' experience,” wrote first cousin Marc Kushner on Twitter Wednesday, linking to Jared Kushner’s letter posted on the Observer website, where he is publisher. “We must speak out against hate. Anti-semitism or otherwise.”
It’s not the first time the two cousins’ families have disagreed. Marc Kushner’s father Murray and Jared Kushner’s father Charles — who are brothers — sued each other multiple times in civil court and remain estranged, Haaretz reported.
But their shared grandparents’ legacy shaped both children. Jared Kushner’s father funded the construction of an elementary school named for their grandfather, which Marc Kushner attended.
In his letter, Jared Kushner described his grandmother’s experience of narrowly escaping the ghetto of Novogroduk as Nazis rounded up the town’s Jewish residents and selected those who would be killed.
“I know the difference between actual, dangerous intolerance versus these labels that get tossed around in an effort to score political points,” Jared Kushner wrote.
Jared Kushner’s letter was published in response to one of his employees at the New York Observer, who had confronted him for not speaking out against racist messages that applauded the tweet’s perceived anti-Semitic undertones. Kushner’s response, however, seemed unlikely to ease the controversy over Donald Trump’s weekend tweet, which the candidate replaced shortly afterward with another image covering up the star with a circle.
Trump, who had insisted the star had no underlying meaning, appeared to double down on the original use of the star Wednesday night by tweeting an image of a Disney “Frozen” sticker book with a similar six-pointed star on the cover.
“Where is the outrage for this Disney book? Is this the 'Star of David' also?” he wrote.
Clinton responded by alluding to a lyric from “Frozen”: “Do you want to build a strawman?”