While Donald Trump’s chief of staff, retired Gen. John Kelly, “shoved” Ivanka Trump in a White House hallway, Jared Kushner writes in his forthcoming memoir.
The detail from Breaking History, which will be published in August, was reported by the Washington Post.
According to the Post, Kushner writes that he and his wife consider Kelly to be “consistently duplicitous.”
“One day he had just walked out of a controversial meeting in the Oval Office. Ivanka was walking down the main hallway in the west wing as she passed him. Unaware of his heated state of mind, she said, “Hi, boss.” Kelly shoved her out of the way and stormed past. She wasn’t hurt and didn’t make a big deal out of the altercation, but Kelly had shown his true character in his anger.”
Kushner writes that Kelly “gently” apologized about an hour later.
Kelly told the Post, “I don’t remember anything you describe. I can’t imagine that I would EVER push a woman. Unthinkable. Never happen. I would never do that on purpose. I also don’t remember ever apologizing to her for something I didn’t do. I would remember that.”
A spokesman for Ivanka Trump told the Post that her husband’s description was accurate.
The Post also said Kushner wrote that Kelly “made compliments to his wife’s face that she knew were disingenuous.”
“Then the four-star general would call her staff into his office and berate and intimidate them over trivial procedural issues that his rigid system often created. He often referred to her initiatives, such as paid family leave and the child allowance, as “Ivanka’s pet projects.”
Kushner also describes a 2017 confrontation between Kelly and Chinese officials in Beijing, during which Kushner says the former general was overly aggressive. Kelly defended his behavior to the Post, saying he accepted a Chinese apology.
Kushner writes, “It was in that moment that I finally understood John Kelly. For him, everything was a game to establish dominance and control. He made people feel small and unimportant to build the relationship from a place of power. Then, when his position was firmly established, he would charm and disarm, leaving people relieved that they are on his good side but afraid of what would happen if they got in his way.”
Ivanka’s alleged nudge was also mentioned by a New York Times reporter, Kenneth P. Vogel, amid a series of revelations from Kushner’s book.
In tweets, Vogel revealed Kushner’s version of an election night 2020 call with Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch; Trump’s comments on pardons and correctional reforms and the White House dynamic on the issue; and Kushner’s take on Steve Bannon, the former strategist whom Trump pardoned on fraud charges.
Kushner was a senior advisor to his father-in-law during Trump’s four years in the White House. Kelly, once in the US Marine Corps, was the second of four chiefs of staff. In a chaotic and leak-prone White House, relations between Kelly and Trump quickly deteriorated. Kelly left administration — fired or retired — in December 2018.
Scenes from their stormy relationship have dotted reports and books about Trump’s time in power. In 2021, for example, Michael C. Bender, then of the Wall Street Journal, reported that during a 2018 trip to Europe, Kelly was stunned when Trump told him, “Well, Hitler did a lot of good things.”
Trump denied that remark and attacked Kelly. In September, the then-president told reporters: “I know John Kelly. He was with me, didn’t do a good job, had no temper and ended up fizzled out. He was eaten alive. He couldn’t handle the pressure of this job.”
Kelly spoke out when Trump was still in power.
In 2020, Kelly reportedly told friends, “To me, the depth of his dishonesty is simply amazing. The dishonesty, the transactional nature of every relationship, though more pathetic than anything else. He’s the most flawed person I’ve ever met in my life.”