Kushner's Friend Up For WH Post Drops Out After Background Check

Ken Kurson, who once ran Jared Kushner's newspaper company, was found to have harassed a doctor in 2015. He also faces allegations of sexual harassment.

A friend of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was being considered for a prestigious position within the administration. But a background check likely caused his failure to obtain a security clearance, and he ultimately dropped out of the running.

Ken Kurson, who was once the editor of Kushner-owned The New York Observer, was a favorite choice by the administration to a seat on the National Endowment for the Humanities, an executive-branch position that helps dish out millions of dollars in grant money to artists across the country.

But then Kurson, who was also once a speechwriter for Trump as well as former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, took himself out of consideration in early June.

Officially, Kurson said that the mountains of paperwork were just not worth the time and effort to apply for the position. But the more likely reason for his dropping out of the running may have to do with his background check.

The FBI is required to dig deeper into any executive branch appointee, and upon looking into Kurson’s life, discovered that he had been accused of harassing a physician in the recent past.

The doctor, who was a mutual friend of Kurson and his now ex-wife, said that she was the victim of online harassment from him during the time just before their divorce. Kurson allegedly made many disparaging comments on review sites like Yelp and RateMDs.com about the doctor’s performance. He also sent an email to the doctor’s boss’s wife, alleging unsubstantiated claims about the two.

The harassment was enough to warrant the hospital where the doctor had worked to take precautionary actions to protect her. They beefed up security, granted her a security detail of her own to follow her to and from work, and even provided temporary housing for the doctor.

This wasn’t the only concerning event in Kurson’s past. In March of this year, a journalist who had worked under him at The Observer detailed in an Atlantic article how Kurson had abused his position of power to pressure her into asking him out.

Inspired by the #MeToo movement, the first person narrative by Deborah Copaken also alleged that Kurson made a rude remark about her appearance on her first meeting him. Copaken, who was battling breast cancer at the time, said that Kurson said something along the lines of, “Wow, it’s so weird — here we are talking about your story about your breast cancer while I’m staring at your breasts.”

These incidents demonstrate that Kurson would have been a terrible choice to the prestigious federal arts board. His demeanor around women — whether he’s hitting on them, or harassing them online — would not represent the board well.

The president has a terrible habit of picking people for positions in government who can’t pass a background check. It’s clear when Trump said that only the “best people” would be in his administration, he was lying.


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