Breaking US history

Abdel-Moneim Said
Tuesday 30 Aug 2022

Jared Kushner’s memoir attempts to set Trump’s record as a leader who had a big role to play in the US and its history despite his shortcomings.


Jared Kushner’s memoir Breaking History just may be at the forefront of books “unlocking the seals” of an American administration that was all about extremism in governance.

Much was written about Donald Trump while he was at the helm. Many of those writings were by people who disobeyed him and contributed to draw a picture of a president unfit for ruling. Those included lawyers, aides, and journalists such as Bob Woodward, who quoted Trump and White House sources what would depict the US president as a deranged man or a mob leader, a racist, incompetent and anti-establishment white man who slandered women.

On the other hand, Trump had become a crowd pleaser and the public would rush to attend his meetings and election campaigns as it hadn’t done with any other president or candidate in contemporary American history. For his sake, the masses believed his argument about the second-term election being rigged and staged an attack on Congress to reinstate him in the White House.

Support for Trump came from white sects, some of whom believed white Americans were oppressed, while others supported him because they saw in the opposing democratic camp the liberal laxity of handing over the country to strangers who came from all over the world, and others saw him as a strong president capable of taking action and making achievements.

Kushner was Trump’s adviser and a close aide. He is also the husband of Ivanka, Trump’s daughter. He was constantly present at the White House, and in charge of many important files, which gives him immense credibility. 

The memoir came out after Kushner and Ivanka admitted Trump’s mistake regarding the outcome of the US election that resulted in Joe Biden’s victory. The truth is that the elections were not rigged; saying that they weakened American democracy and the US image in the world.

The main message, which breaks many well-known American seals, is that the president and his aides made remarkable achievements that will long be remembered. The first of these is the trade agreements Trump concluded, which brought great benefits to Americans. The second is his success, in cooperation with the Democrats, in passing a law to reform the criminal justice system. The third is the launch of Operation Warp Speed, which accelerated the production of the vaccine that became the cornerstone of the fight against Covid-19. The fourth, which is the most important for us in the Arab world and the Middle East, is advocating the Abraham Accords to conclude peace agreements between Israel and five Muslim-majority countries, namely the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, Sudan, and Kosovo. The fifth is the US contribution to resolving the dispute between Arab countries and Qatar.

The book contains more details and narrations reminiscent of the writings of American Jews, which begin with the horrific human tragedy of the Holocaust, of which Kushner’s paternal grandfather and grandmother were victims, and ends with the leading role in building the American state his father and mother played. 

But what matters here is that the author was trying to set Trump’s record as a leader who had a big role to play in the country and its history, and that regardless of the dispute over the results of previous elections, the upcoming elections are what counts. This time, the elections started very early on, with the primaries in the Republican and Democratic parties for the midterm elections for both houses of Congress. In these Trump played an important role, appearing as a judge in his own party and a great threat to the current president, according to opinion polls.

Trump succeeded in eliminating 10 Republicans from the House of Representatives either during the elections or through them withdrawing from the elections or public life altogether. The last of these was an important party star, Liz Cheney, who led the attack on Trump in the committee formed by Congress to investigate Trump’s role in the events of 6 January 2021, which is seen as a black day in the history of America and its democracy.

All evidence confirms that Trump will seek another presidential term. Trump’s final days in the White House were different from those that preceded, but perhaps similar to John Adams’, the second US president after George Washington. Adams left office angry and resentful of his rival, Thomas Jefferson, and walked to his hometown Boston, Massachusetts, without a handshake or goodbye. At that time, the US comprised 13 states, with a population of not much more than three million, and was a country separated by the Atlantic Ocean from the ancient world. Now the US is made up of 50 states and a population of 330 million, a leader of both the old and new worlds, or so it was until it was hit by the Coronavirus pandemic under Trump.

The book came out just as 40 FBI agents were storming and searching Trump’s mansion in Mar-a-Lago, Florida. At the time of writing this article, the result of the inspection was still unknown, so were the reasons for the investigation. However, comments about the incident refer to the unlawful transfer of documents from the White House and looking for evidence linking the Capitol attack with Trump’s refusal to ratify the results of the presidential elections, which was a necessary step for Biden to take office.

Whatever the reasons, Trump was summoned for interrogation by the prosecutor, and in the 400 questions that were directed to him he resorted to the Fifth Amendment in the US constitution, which gives the accused the right to refuse to answer if he fears it will incriminate him.

Both events are unprecedented in US history and the White House stated that it had nothing to do with the either. As for Trump, he insisted that all matters were “politicised” to prevent him from being in the White House again.

This article is meant to put b in its context based on deep divisions in US political life that is dissimilar from previous divisions that the political system since the US civil war was able to overcome. This time, the regime and its institutions are being put to the legitimacy test, which has been shaken during the ongoing battles for the past and future.

The US is no longer the same, and although its position in the world cannot be ignored, the events taking place there cannot be ignored either.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 1 September, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

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