President Donald Trump’s eldest daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, hosted a fancy dinner party for members of the Trump administration and invited guests just hours after a deadly siege at the US Capitol resulted in the death of a police officer, while more would die in the coming weeks.
The bizarre revelation is one of many in ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl’s book, Betrayal, which details the final days of the 45th president’s time in office and his escapades as a former president holding court at Mar-a-Lago.
According to Mr Karl, the event hosted by Mr Kushner and Ms Trump occurred on 7 January, just a little more than 24 hours after one of the most shocking scenes in US political history, and amid a staggering wave of furious resignations throughout the administration, including that of longtime aide Stephanie Grisham.
But the topic was never once broached at the dinner, which was attended by guests including Larry Kudlow, the White House aide who served as director of the National Economic Council under Mr Trump.
Instead, the party focused on ideas about the formation of a free-market-espousing think tank with the goal of appealing to Democrats and pulling their opponents away from an embrace of left-leaning economic policies that has overtaken the party’s base in recent years.
It’s not clear from Mr Karl’s writing whether Mr Trump knew the dinner party occurred. What is clear, from Mr Kushner’s quotes to Mr Karl, is that the president had isolated himself from everyone except his most hardline supporters as the riot unfolded in DC, resulting in the senior White House adviser avoiding his own boss in the hours after it ended.
“Among those who attended were Larry Kudlow and Brooke Rollins, who were still working as senior officials in the Trump White House. Kevin Hassett, who had served as one of Trump’s top economic advisors until the summer of 2020, was also there. One of those who attended the dinner told me the conversation centered on the idea of creating a new think tank to promote free-market economics in a way that would appeal to Democrats,” reads an excerpt from Mr Karl’s book, obtained by The Independent.
It continued: “Remarkably, there was no mention of the fact that a mob had just stormed the Capitol days earlier, ransacking the offices of Democratic leaders and trying to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory. There was no mention whatsoever—whatsoever—by Jared and Ivanka or any of their guests—of January 6.”
That same day, Mr Kushner told a Republican congressman that he was avoiding the president and his efforts to remain in power entirely.
“We’ll just get in a fight if I go over there,” said Mr Kushner, according to Mr Karl, referring to the Oval Office.
Mr Karl’s book details just how widespread and serious Mr Trump’s efforts to overturn his 2020 election defeat really was, despite a clear lack of concern showed by many including his former chief of staff, John Kelly, about what the president planned to do in the weeks leading up to 6 January.
Congress’ select committee investigating the 6 January attack is now engaged in an effort to collect testimony from a wide range of former Trump administration and campaign officials as the legislative branch seeks to find out just how close the US came to seeing a sitting president successfully remain in office after losing an election while also investigating the events of the riot that overtook the Capitol.
It remains unclear if Mr Trump will see the same level of support from members of his inner circle including Mr Kushner and Ms Trump, his daughter who took a smaller role in his campaign efforts compared to her brothers, if he goes ahead with a rumored 2024 run.