What Jared Kushner Did For A Living Before The White House

Nearly a year after Donald Trump's presidency came to a close in January, it appears at least a few of the members of what once was the former president's supposed brain-trust are still figuring out their second phase. A choice few of Trump's former advisers were, as many know, the product of, well, nepotism. His oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., who was not technically a close counselor in any official capacity, was instrumental to his father's campaigns; as of this writing, he's become his father's political heir apparent and main fundraiser. His second son, Eric Trump, wasn't exactly considered a member of his dad's inner sanctum, but his foreign business dealings under the Trump name were dropped in order to help the commander-in-chief try to overturn the 2020 election, morphing into what might now be his next act. 

And as for Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, the other two members of the Trump brood who, as senior advisers, worked most closely with Trump out of all of them? Well, their future still remains uncertain. But when it comes to Jared, there's a chance a betting person might be able to wager what will come next by looking back on what he did before entering the White House.

Jared Kushner landed in his family business

Amid reports of both Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner distancing themselves from the former president (despite remaining close by, geographically speaking, by way of their new Miami, Florida home), the next endeavor for either or both has yet to take full form. 

The few, brief statements Ivanka has released to the public since rescinding her advisory role have been diplomatically vague, with sources saying (via CNN) she is taking time to focus on her immediate family. Jared's next steps have been a little more fully fleshed. In July, it was reported Kushner planned to launch an international investing firm within the private financial sector, but it has yet to materialize. Whether or not a new venture will ever get off the ground, it might be possible to predict where the former real estate businessman could go from here by looking back on what he did in his pre-White House days.

Kushner, a Harvard graduate (whose admittance was reportedly dubious to begin with), had no prior training or education in the sectors of politics or policy — domestic or foreign. After graduating with a joint MBA and J.D. from NYU in 2007 (note: Kushner never took the bar exam, via Vanity Fair), Kushner became more involved with his family's real estate empire — one that he worked for in at least some executive capacity since college, per VF. But Kushner vied to branch out on his own; unfortunately, it ended as a misstep.

Jared Kushner's short-lived bid as a media mogul was shaky

Though Jared Kushner's position as the heir apparent to his father Charles Kushner's thriving property empire would seem like a sure bet for life, it seems Kushner yearned for his own entrepreneurial pursuit. In 2006, Kushner purchased The New York Observer, a New York City-based weekly newspaper, in an attempt to forge a media empire of his own. As The Guardian noted at the time, Kushner was only barely (if vaguely) familiar with the publication prior to his $10 million purchase (via the outlet), but quickly changed it over to a tabloid print format, hired news writers, and expanded the Observer's online presence — a move which eventually formed his Observer Media Group. But despite these first few beneficial moves, things swiftly began to decline.

Speaking with Vanity Fair, a person who worked as an Observer reporter during Kushner's takeover described Kushner's C-suite abilities as less than stellar. Calling Kushner "impulsive," the source recalled working under Kushner akin to "being in a boat that is constantly shifting directions and it's never really clear where it's pointing." 

Another said that Kushner "obviously didn't read" the very paper he published, and opined Kushner's interest in publishing it had more to do with his ego and social stature than anything else. As a third source put it: "It's dangerous to have someone who thinks he's so much smarter than he is put in a large position of power."

Jared Kushner gave up The Observer ten years after buying it

Unfortunately for Jared Kushner, his position as the head of the Observer Media Group was ultimately regarded as detrimental. Via Insider, The New York Observer morphed over the years from a distinguished weekly publication and tastemaker to a shell of its former self; mismanaged to the point that it went out of print completely months before Kushner stepped down as owner in 2017 and relinquished his stakes within the company. Per CNN, his stake went into a "family trust."

Negative attitudes towards Kushner prior to his White House run were hardly confined to the publishing and media sectors. Another unnamed source Vanity Fair described as a "real-estate acquaintance" pulled no punches while speaking of Kushner's reputation within the world of real estate. "My impression wasn't that he was a moron," said the source. "But he thought he was so much smarter than he was. That makes for really dangerous and decisive decisions. He is really confident that he's doing the right thing, but he has no idea what he's doing."

If we're using Jared Kushner's past business endeavors as predictors for his future career ambitions, his next move could be shaky too. But regardless, he most likely already has enough of a nest egg to tide him over. As of this writing, Kushner's family's net worth is valued at around $800 million (via Celebrity Net Worth).