White House senior adviser Jared Kushner claimed to be “an internet Unitarian minister” and offered to marry the co-hosts of “Morning Joe”, according to a new book. His clerical power, however, may be impossible to confirm without a court order.
Kushner, an Orthodox Jew and President Trump's son-in-law, offered to marry Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski when they visited the White House early last year, according to "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House."
Author Michael Wolff wrote that Trump told the pair, whose romance was not publicly declared at the time, “You guys should just get married.”
“I can marry you! I’m an internet Unitarian minister,” Kushner said, according to the book.
“What are you talking about?” Trump reportedly said. “Why would they want you to marry them when I could marry them? When they could be married by the president! At Mar-a-Lago!”
A spokesperson for the nation's largest Unitarian group said Kushner is not an ordained minister, but that it’s possible that he is ordained by some other entity.
“Jared Kushner is not an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister,” said Marchae Grair, spokesperson for the Unitarian Universalist Association, which has a network of more than 1,000 congregations.
“A Unitarian Universalist minister must be ordained by a Unitarian Universalist congregation and then must be certified by the UUA’s Ministerial Fellowship Committee,” Grair said.
Kushner’s claim to clerical authority would more likely come from an Internet ordination mill, possibly falling within the broader Unitarian religious tradition.
A spokesman for the Universalist Life Church, a popular source for threadbare claims of religious authority, declined to discuss their reverends.
“It’s due to a privacy agreement we have with our ministers. You need them to prove it to you in person with a credential or a login, or you can issue a subpoena to us and we will then issue the information,” the spokesman for ULC.org said.
ULC ministers include Stephen Colbert, Lady Gaga, and The Rock, according to the group’s website. Online ordination is free, but ministers must pay if they want letters of good standing or business cards.
Another entity that claims to represent the ULC, the Universalist Life Church Seminary, did not respond to a request for comment.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders cast doubt on the accuracy of Wolff’s reporting, saying Wednesday that most of the author’s West Wing contacts were with former chief strategist Steve Bannon or at his discretion.
“I know that the book has a lot of things, so far of what we've seen, that are completely untrue,” Sanders said.
Wolff’s book includes reporting that Kushner and wife Ivanka Trump decided that she, rather than he, would run for president if the opportunity arises, and quotes Bannon saying Donald Trump Jr. and Kushner were “treasonous” for attending a Trump Tower meeting where there was discussion of Russian dirt on Hillary Clinton.