Jared Kushner dodges questions on whether Trump is racist, Saudi crown prince, despite Axios' best effort

Jared Kushner dodges and weaves
(Image credit: Screenshot/Twitter/Axios)

In the teaser for Sunday's Axios on HBO, reporter Jonathan Swan pressed Jared Kushner — President Trump's son-in-law and senior White House adviser — on his "close and influential relationship" with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. After noting that bin Salman ordered the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, kidnapped Lebanon's prime minister, and "indiscriminately bombs civilians in Yemen," Swan asked Kushner, "What do you see in this guy?"

Kushner said he feels that the Trump administration and the Saudi government share "a lot of interests" and "our goal is to pursue those." Regarding Khashoggi's murder, he said, "look, it's a horrific thing that happened and what we've done is call for full transparency. We are working on an investigation to get to the bottom of what happened. Once we have all the facts, then we'll make a policy determination, but that would be up to the secretary of state to push on our policy." The CIA and Republican-led Senate have determined that bin Salman is responsible for Khashoggi's death, Axios notes.

Kushner insisted Trump is "absolutely not" and never was a racist, and when Swan pointed to Trump's lead role in the "birtherism" lie that former President Barack Obama was born in Africa and Trump's promised ban on Muslim travelers to the U.S., Kushner just repeated that he "wasn't involved" in those things.

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Kushner also deflected Swan's questions on why Palestinians would want to work with him on a peace plan with Israel.

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Kushner also suggested that the Palestinians aren't "capable of governing" themselves yet. Read more at Axios.

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at TheWeek.com, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.