Trump son-in-law family apologizes for China name drop

Tomas Mccoy
May 17, 2017

Nicole Meyer (younger sister of President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner) may have been obtuse about the American optics in Beijing on Saturday, but she was spot-on with the Chinese culture when she pitched a crowd of rich Chinese about her family's latest EB-5 investment in Jersey City, N.J., right across the Hudson from mid-town Manhattan. The firm has already raised money from Chinese investors through the EB-5 program for another tower in New Jersey, which licensed the Trump name.

A much-criticized visa program that allows foreigners to win fast-track immigration in return for investing $500,000 in USA properties was extended in a bill signed by President Trump just one day before a sister of senior White House adviser Jared Kushner pitched the program to Chinese investors.

According to CNN, their statement stressed Meyer's comments weren't an "attempt to lure investors", and that she "wanted to make clear that her brother had stepped away from the company in January and has nothing to do with this project".

Backlash for a sales pitch from Jared Kushner's family firm to Chinese investors came quickly, with one former White House ethics advisor calling the weekend's presentation "corruption, pure and simple".

"In 2008, my brother Jared Kushner joined the family company as CEO and recently moved to Washington to join the administration", she said at the conference. Similar events will be held at the InterContinental in Shenzhen on May 13 and the Four Seasons in Guangzhou on May 14. It is thought that considering his isolationist and anti-immigrant rhetoric, Trump may decide to end the visa program.

The EB-5 program, which lawmakers have targeted for reform, is authorized through government spending bills and has been renewed continuously for years as Congress has opted to renew short-term continuing resolutions.

Journalists had been asked to leave the room in Beijing.

Another speaker at the Beijing conference told the audience to invest soon, in case the Trump administration changes rules for visas, according to the Washington Post.

During the event in Beijing, Kushner's sister promoted a program offering a path to USA citizenship to Chinese backers.

The EB-5 program also gives wealthy Chinese the opportunity to move a big chunk of their savings overseas at a time of uncertainty about the future of the world's second-largest economy. Originally created with the goal of generating jobs, the program has become extremely popular with foreign elites, especially the Chinese, as a sort of golden ticket into the U.S. His wife is Ivanka Trump.

Noble said the type of pitch offered in China "is not unheard of in other countries where you get to the leader by ... financially supporting the family". On a big screen, Jared Kushner's previous role in the company and his current role in the Trump administration were highlighted.

Created in 1990 as a way to encourage investment during a recession, the program requires foreigners to invest $1 million in a business that sustainably employs 10 people anywhere or $500,000 in rural areas or those with high unemployment.

This was a foul-smelling effort to use the White House, and Kushner's power, to boost the family's bottom line.

There are no allegations against Kushner's project, but the confidentiality provisions mean the public can't know whose foreign money went into Trump Bay Street.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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