- Jared Kushner told Trump to tack on five points to any bad poll that was released, per a NYT report.
- The report said Kushner was “rationalizing that traditional surveys missed many Trump voters anyway.”
- Republicans have long claimed that polls often don’t account for many of Trump’s most fervent supporters.
Republicans often point out that the 2016 presidential election — which was seen by most observers as a contest that favored former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over former President Donald Trump — produced one of biggest electoral upsets in modern political history.
After Trump entered the White House, senior advisor and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner would lean in on this mindset when dealing with the volatile commander-in-chief, according to details from a forthcoming book from New York Times reporter Peter Baker and The New Yorker staff writer Susan Glasser that were published Wednesday in the Times.
Baker described Kushner as a “measured alter ego” who “others turned to for help in calming down or reasoning” with Trump during the former president’s tenure in the Oval Office, while also stating that he was “strategic” in how he handled his dealings with the former president.
“Mr. Kushner developed his own techniques for handling Mr. Trump,” the Times reported. One key, he told others, was feeding the president good news, even if it was in short supply. … Kushner came up with a specific mathematical formula for his peculiar brand of Trump management: two to one. Any phone call, any meeting should include this good-news-to-bad-news ratio. He would give twice as much upbeat information as grim updates.”
The report continued: “He similarly made a habit of telling Mr. Trump to add five points to any bad poll, rationalizing that traditional surveys missed many Trump voters anyway, part of a common White House practice of telling the president what he wanted to hear regardless of the facts.”
Throughout the Trump presidency, the former president was beset by middling favorability ratings that reflected the polarizing effect that his demeanor had on the electorate.
Despite Trump’s national polling numbers, which on average sat well below 50 percent, many of the hotly-contested states in the 2020 presidential election — including Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — were all decided by less than 2 percentage points.
The Times report went on to state that despite Kushner’s family ties, Trump was still “a demanding boss” who was not keen “to showing appreciation.”
“Mr. Kushner understood that Mr. Trump was never going to call him and say, ‘You’re doing a great job. I just want to thank you for this.’ Instead, Mr. Kushner once explained to an associate, his dealings with Trump invariably began with the president saying, ‘What the hell is going on with this?’ albeit with an earthier expletive, often in a phone call at 1 or 2 in the morning,” the report said.
After seeing a stream of advisors leave the White House over the years, Kushner knew that he could never dismiss that Trump was in the driver’s seat.
“Mr. Kushner realized the essential element of survival: never forgetting it was Mr. Trump’s show, Mr. Trump’s party, Mr. Trump’s way,” the report said.