The Kushner family has abandoned its fundraising tour in China after being exposed earlier this week for using Jared Kushner’s White House connections to pitch wealthy Chinese on investing $150 million into their company’s latest real estate venture in exchange for US visas.
“No one from Kushner Companies will be in China this weekend,” Risa Heller, a company spokeswoman, told The Washington Post on Thursday. Previously, Jared’s sister Nicole Kushner Meyer had been scheduled to give another presentation to potential Chinese investors in Shenzhen on Saturday.
Last Saturday, reporters watched as Meyer told an audience of about 100 wealthy Chinese investors inside a Beijing ballroom about the benefits of the controversial EB-5 visa program, which grants big foreign investors US visas and a path to residence for the cost of just a half-million dollars. The tagline on a brochure for the event read simply: “Invest $500,000 and immigrate to the United States.”
During her presentation, Meyer stressed that the luxury building project in New Jersey “means a lot to me and my entire family,” later mentioning her brother, a senior adviser to the president, by name. Promotional materials for the event also noted the Kushner family’s “celebrity” status.
Jared Kushner’s father-in-law, Donald Trump, even popped up once during the presentation, described as a “key decision maker” about the future of the EB-5 program. It is thought that considering his isolationist and anti-immigrant rhetoric, Trump may decide to end the visa program. Therefore the Kushner family urged the assembled millionaires to “invest early” while the favorable rules are still in place.
However, despite this sales pitch, Trump actually signed an extension of the controversial visa program just one day before the event in Beijing was held.
— Javier C. Hernández (@HernandezJavier) May 6, 2017
Meyer later apologized for mentioning her brother’s name, while emphasizing that he has nothing to do with the project. The White House has also said that Jared is not involved with his sister’s presentations in China, noting that he stepped down as chief executive of Kushner Companies in January and has divested himself from his family’s company.
However, many wealthy Chinese investors at the event appear to have been under a different impression. Along with bringing peace to the Middle East and reforming the criminal justice system, Kushner has been tasked with serving as the top liaison between his father-in-law and the Chinese government. In China, business, family and politics are often deeply intertwined with Kushner filling the familiar role of “princeling” in the eyes of China’s elite.
“Even though this is the project of the son-in-law’s family, of course it is still affiliated,” one attendee told the Washington Post about the project’s appeal to Chinese investors.
Which likely explains why reporters were barred from engaging in interviews, pushed around and eventually kicked out of the banquet hall with public relations representatives telling them that: “This is not the story we want.” At a similar event in Shanghai the next day, reporters were simply blocked from entering the meeting hall.
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