In his new book, Jared Kushner writes about the moment that he called Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch on election night in November 2020 to ask why the network had just called Arizona for President Joe Biden.
Breaking History: A White House Memoir by Mr Kushner is set to publish on 23 August. New York Times reporter Kenneth Vogel tweeted several of the pages from the book on Wednesday.
“The shocking projection brought our momentum to a screeching halt”, Mr Kushner writes about the moment Fox called Arizona for Mr Biden. “It instantly changed the mood among our campaign’s leaders, who were scrambling to understand the network’s methodology. Many felt that the early call would embolden people who were looking to play dirty with the vote counting in the outstanding swing states.”
He adds that “up to that moment, Trump was performing even better than our models had forecast in several key states that immediately reported the results. Voter turnout was far higher than predicted, showing that our expansive ground operation had worked. We had mobilized our base, which was always an important factor in elections. But losing Arizona would drastically narrow our path to victory”.
Mr Kushner writes that he “dialed Rupert Murdoch and asked why Fox News had made the Arizona call before hundreds of thousands of votes were tallied. Rupert said he would look into the issue, and minutes later he called back”.
“Sorry, Jared, there is nothing I can do”, he said, according to Mr Kushner. “The Fox News data authority says the numbers are ironclad – he says it won’t be close.”
The former president’s son-in-law writes that the Trump campaign “had a different view” before adding that “based on the remaining votes to be counted, we believed that Arizona’s outstanding votes would favor Trump and that it would be razor close. After Arizona, however, negative news came in from other swing states”.
Mr Kushner writes that the situation in 2020 was different from 2016, “when it was clear how many outstanding votes each precinct needed to count and report within hours of the polls closing”, adding that “2020 was full of electoral anomalies”.
“At 1:40 am., with 93 percent of the vote counted, Trump was hanging on by a thread in Georgia with 50.7 percent, down from his lead of 12.7 percentage points earlier in the night”, the former presidential aide writes. Mr Trump would go on to lose Georgia as the first Republican to do so since President Bill Clinton won the state in 1992.
In his memoir, Mr Kushner quotes Mr Trump from his speech in the East Room of the White House on election night after 2am.
“This is a fraud on the American public,” he said. “This is an embarrassment to our country. We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election. So our goal now is to ensure the integrity for the good of this nation.”