When Fox News called Arizona for Joe Biden on election night 2020, infuriating Donald Trump and fueling attempts at Republican election subversion that continue to this day, Rupert Murdoch told Jared Kushner “the numbers are ironclad – it’s not even close.”
Details of the Fox News owner’s conversation with Trump’s son-in-law and chief adviser about the call that most observers believe confirmed Trump’s defeat can be found in Kushner’s memoir, Breaking History, due out next month.
They also come as Murdoch-owned newspapers and even Fox News appear to be turning on Trump in light of the Jan. 6 hearings into the attack on the US Capitol and his attempt to reverse his electoral defeat.
An early excerpt from the book, in which Kushner describes being secretly treated for thyroid cancer, was reported by Maggie Haberman of The New York Times.
On Wednesday, another Times reporter, Kenneth Vogel, tweeted images of pages of Kushner’s book, each bearing the word “confidential”.
Kushner’s description of the shock of the Fox News Arizona call mirrors those in numerous reports and books about Trump’s 2020 defeat, his refusal to accept it, and the attack on American democracy that followed.
“The shocking projection abruptly halted our momentum,” Kushner writes. “It instantly changed the mood among our campaign leaders, who were struggling to understand the network’s methodology.”
Kushner describes the Trump campaign’s focus on Arizona and writes that losing there would “dramatically shorten our path to victory.”
In Landslide, a book published last year, author Michael Wolff reported that Murdoch gave his son Lachlan Murdoch the endorsement for Fox News to call Arizona for Biden with “a signature grunt” and a beard for Trump: “Fuck it.
Fox News denied Wolff’s story.
Kushner writes, “I called Rupert Murdoch and asked why Fox News called Arizona before hundreds of thousands of votes were tallied. Rupert said he would look into it, and a few minutes later called back.
“‘Sorry Jared, I can’t do anything,'” he said. “‘Fox News data authority says the numbers are ironclad – says it won’t be close.'”
“We knew [Arizona] would be a consistent call because it was one of the five states that really mattered,” Stirewalt testified.
Stirewalt also said that at the time of the Arizona call, Trump’s chances of beating Biden were “very small” and “smaller and smaller.” After Arizona, he said, those odds dwindled to “none.”
In his book, Kushner comes close to his father-in-law’s lie about voter fraud during Biden’s victory, writing, “2020 was full of anomalies.”
The election was called for Biden on Nov. 7, when Pennsylvania fell to his column. He won the Electoral College by 306-232the same margin Trump called a landslide when it landed in his favor against Hillary Clinton in 2016. Biden won the Popular vote over 7m.
In his passage about Trump’s speech in the early hours of Nov. 4, the day after Election Day, saying “Frankly, we won this election,” Kushner says he was called out by Karl Rove, the strategist who helped George W Bush to win “the closest presidential election in US history”, against Al Gore in 2000.
Trump claimed he was the victim of fraud. Rove, writes Kushner, said, “The president’s rhetoric is totally wrong. He will win. Statistically, there’s no way the Democrats can catch you now.
Kushner says he responded, “Call the president and tell him that.”
trump later enabled Rove, who he said called him at 10:30 p.m. on election night “to congratulate me on ‘a great victory’.” Fox News called Arizona just before midnight.
On Wednesday, Vogel also tweeted out pages in which Kushner describes his work on presidential pardons.
Kushner says he did not oppose a pardon for Steve Bannon, the former Trump strategist who was accused of fraud but was a prominent White House backer, because of work Bannon has fact about Trump’s winning campaign in 2016.
He also writes that when Trump pardoned Alice Johnson, a black grandmother convicted of a minor drug-related charge of the type that Kushner targeted in his sentencing reform work, Trump said, “Let’s hope ‘Alice don’t go out and kill anyone!