NEW YORK, NY - MAY 02: Jared Kushner and wife Ivanka Trump attend the "Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology" Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for People.com)
Mike Coppola—Getty Images for People.com
November 22, 2016 7:06 PM EST

Jared Kushner was touted as an influential figure in the presidential campaign of his father-in-law, Donald Trump, and is expected to play some sort of role in Trump’s administration. But Kushner, a real estate developer and owner of the New York Observer, has avoided most Trump-related press. Until now.

In an interview with Forbes, the 35-year-old opened up about his role in the campaign and the criticism Trump has faced. And while many were surprised when Kushner, the son of a top Democratic donor who’s supported Democrats in the past, took on a heightened role in Trump’s campaign, his wife, Ivanka Trump, told Forbes that her husband and father are quite similar.

“Jared and my father initially bonded over a combination of me and real estate,” she said. “There’s a lot of parallels between Jared as a developer and my father in the early years of his development career.”

Kushner said that when he told Trump he was thinking of marrying Ivanka, Trump responded: “‘You’d better be serious on this.” The two married at the National Trump Golf Club in 2009. Before the two wed, Ivanka Trump converted to Orthodox Judaism, which Kushner practices.

But Kushner, who underwent an “ideological conversion” over the course of Trump’s campaign, according to the New York Times, hasn’t been immune from criticism throughout the campaign. Notably, after Trump tweeted an image of an image of Hillary Clinton, a pile of cash and a six-pointed Star that contained the words “most corrupt Candidate ever,” which many denounced as anti-Semitic, a writer at the Observer called out her boss. Dana Schwartz, a writer at the Observer, published an open letter to Kushner on the paper’s website calling on Kushner to condemn his father-in-law. Kushner responded in an op-ed on the Observer’s website, saying that Trump is not anti-Semitic.

And even though Trump has been criticized throughout the campaign for his rhetoric and policies on minorities and women, Kushner doubled down on the idea that Trump won’t promote hate as president in Forbes. “I know his character. I know who he is, and I obviously would not have supported him if I thought otherwise. If the country gives him a chance, they’ll find he won’t tolerate hateful rhetoric or behavior,” Kushner said. “You can’t not be a racist for 69 years, then all of a sudden become a racist, right? You can’t not be an anti-Semite for 69 years and all of a sudden become an anti-Semite because you’re running.”

Hopefully, Kushner’s characterization of his father-in-law is correct. But so far, Trump’s critics say his actions and words have proven otherwise.

Read the full profile at Forbes.

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Write to Samantha Cooney at samantha.cooney@time.com.

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