- Jared Kushner was unfazed by the infamous Access Hollywood audio recording in which Donald Trump could be heard bragging about grabbing women’s genitals without consent, according to a new book.
- An excerpt from the book, “American Carnage: On the Front Lines of the Republican Civil War and the Rise of President Trump,” released Wednesday by Politico details the panic within the Trump campaign when confronted with the recording.
- Then-Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus reportedly thought the tape was a disaster, but Kushner apparently downplayed it, stating, “You know, I don’t think it’s all that bad.”
- The recording continues to be controversial in light of the two dozen women who’ve accused the president of sexual misconduct, but it ultimately did not prove to be fatal to Trump’s 2016 campaign.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Jared Kushner in 2016 thought the Access Hollywood audio recording of Donald Trump bragging he could walk up to women and “grab ’em by the p—y” wasn’t “all that bad,” according to a new book by Politico Magazine’s Timothy Alberta.
When the Trump campaign was confronted with the recording in October 2016, Kushner, who is now a White House adviser, was reportedly the lone voice in the room who attempted to downplay its significance.
At the time, The Washington Post had obtained the recording and reached out to the Trump campaign for comment.
Trump, who was preparing for another presidential debate, initially looked at the request along with the alleged quotes and said, “This doesn’t sound like me,” according to the book.
Meanwhile, then-Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus was apparently in a state of utter panic after he viewed the materials.
“Wow, this isn’t good,” Priebus reportedly said. “This is really, really bad.”
As the group sat “paralyzed” in silence, Alberta wrote that Kushner then said, “You know, I don’t think it’s all that bad.”
According to the excerpt, from “American Carnage: On the Front Lines of the Republican Civil War and the Rise of President Trump,” Priebus buried his head in his hands and replied, “Jared, what are you talking about? This is as bad as it gets.”
Then-campaign manager Kellyanne Conway and deputy campaign manager David Bossie were also reportedly in the room.
As the group discussed how to handle the situation, Priebus reportedly floated the idea Trump was misquoted.
But Bossie then played a recording of Trump’s comments, according to the book, which came during a discussion with television host Billy Bush before shooting a segment for NBC’s “Access Hollywood,” and the future president confirmed the voice on the tape was him.
‘The fallout was apocalyptic’
In reference to an actress waiting for the two men outside of the bus they were riding in at the time, Trump in the recording said, “I’ve got to use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful-I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”
Trump then said. “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the p—y. You can do anything.”
Alberta wrote that the “fallout was apocalyptic” and the report on Trump’s salacious remarks immediately prompted discussions of him dropping out of the race.
The day after the report dropped, Trump reportedly asked Priebus for an assessment of the backlash.
“I’ll tell you what I’m hearing,” Priebus said, according to the book. “Either you’ll lose in the biggest landslide in history, or you can get out of the race and let somebody else run who can win.”
But Trump ultimately rejected calls to step aside, went on to participate in what would be an ugly, vicious debate with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. And roughly a month after the audio recording was made public, Trump won the 2016 presidential election.