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Jared Kushner Is China’s Trump Card

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Jared Kushner is China's Trump Cardn early 2017, shortly after Jared Kushner moved into his new office in the West Wing of the White House, he began receiving guests. One visitor who came more than once was Cui Tiankai, the Chinese Ambassador to the United States, a veteran diplomat with a postgraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University.

When, during previous Administrations, Cui had visited the White House, his hosts received him with a retinue of China specialists and note-takers. Kushner, President Trump’s thirty-seven-year-old son-in-law and one of his senior advisers, preferred smaller gatherings.

Three months earlier, Cui had been in near-despair. Like many observers, he had incorrectly predicted that Hillary Clinton would win the 2016 election; his botched forecast, he told a friend, was precisely the kind of error that dooms the careers of ambassadors in the Chinese diplomatic system. To make matters worse, Cui knew almost nobody in the incoming Administration. Donald Trump had won the election in part by singling out China for “raping” the United States.

In Kushner, Cui found a confident, attentive, and inexperienced counterpart. The former head of his family’s real-estate empire, which is worth more than a billion dollars, Kushner was intent on bringing a businessman’s sensibility to matters of state. He believed that fresh, confidential relationships could overcome the frustrations of traditional diplomatic bureaucracy.

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