Jared Kushner, the Jewish son-in-law of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, has denied an accusation that he knowingly ignored anti-Semitic symbolism in a recent tweet by his father-in-law.
Kushner, the owner of the New York Observer, was responding to an open letter penned by a writer at the paper, accusing him of pandering to white supremacists and of “playing dumb” on an image tweeted out by Trump claiming corruption by his rival Hillary Clinton alongside a six-pointed star reminiscent of a Star of David.
Trump later deleted the image, but many considered it to be the latest in a series of messages from his campaign with anti-Semitic undertones.
Kushner is heavily involved in Trump’s presidential campaign, as is his wife, Ivanka Trump.
In a press statement, Kushner seemed to deny ignoring the anti-Semitic messaging of the controversial tweet, insisting Trump was too tolerant to have ever intended the suspected racist message.
“My father-in-law is an incredibly loving and tolerant person who has embraced my family and our Judaism since I began dating my wife. I know that Donald does not subscribe to any racist or anti-Semitic thinking,” the statement said.
Kushner’s statement continued: “I have personally seen him embrace people of all racial and religious backgrounds. The suggestion that he may be intolerant is not reflective of the Donald Trump I know.”
In the open letter to him, published Tuesday, entertainment writer Dana Schwartz described the anti-Semitic vitriol she received online when she criticized the image, and slated the Trump campaign for refusing to understand or acknowledge the nature of the symbolism, instead accusing the media and the Clinton camp of distorting the message.
“It takes only a basic knowledge of world history or an understanding of how symbols work to see a wall of cash, a Star of David, and the accusation of corruption and not see the subtext,” Schwartz wrote, adding that Kushner was allowing his father in law to foster anti-Semitism.
My final thoughts on Donald Trump's anti-semitic tweet, as an employee of the Observer. https://t.co/oLDNcrhwNp
— Dana Schwartz (@DanaSchwartzzz) July 5, 2016
“The worst people in this country saw your father-in-law’s message and took it as they saw fit. And yet Donald Trump in his response chose not to condemn them, the anti-Semites who, by his argument were obviously misinterpreting the image, but the media,” she wrote.
“You went to Harvard, and hold two graduate degrees,” she wrote to Kushner. “Please do not condescend to me and pretend you don’t understand the imagery of a six-sided star when juxtaposed with money and accusations of financial dishonesty. I’m asking you, not as a ‘gotcha’ journalist or as a liberal but as a human being: how do you allow this? Because, Mr. Kushner, you are allowing this.”
The Trump campaign issued a statement Monday doubling down on its message denying the anti-Semitic reference.
“These false attacks by Hillary Clinton trying to link the Star of David with a basic star, often used by sheriffs who deal with criminals and criminal behavior, showing an inscription that says ‘Crooked Hillary is the most corrupt candidate ever’ with anti-Semitism is ridiculous,” Trump’s representatives responded in a statement.
“I’m not sure who tweeted this out,” Trump aide Ed Brookover said Monday on CNN’s “New Day.”
“We corrected it. There was never any intention of anti-Semitism. There’s no anti-Semitism in Mr. Trump’s body, not one ounce, not one cell,” he said.
JTA contributed to this report.