During the Time magazine 100 Gala on Tuesday night, former The Daily Show correspondent and Patriot Act host Hasan Minhaj used his time at the mic to tease White House senior advisor Jared Kushner. Why? Specifically, Minhaj needled the president’s son-in-law over his personal ties to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who allegedly had Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi killed last year. The two didn’t actually speak to one another, though Kushner reportedly talked to Page Six after the fact.
Minhaj initially mentioned Khashoggi’s murder and the subsequent Patriot Act episode he did that, unsurprisingly, was banned in Saudi Arabia after the government there complained to Netflix. He then transitioned to Loujain al-Hathloul, the imprisoned Saudi activist who was named to Time‘s list this year but was unable to attend Tuesday’s gala. That’s when Kushner indirectly entered the picture:
“I know there’s a lot of very powerful people here, and it would be crazy if there was a high-ranking official in the White House that could WhatsApp MBS and say, ‘Hey, maybe you could help that person get out of prison because they don’t deserve it?'”
Again, Minhaj didn’t mention Kushner by name, but the target of his WhatsApp dig was clear. (Last month, the New York Times reported that he and Ivanka Trump had been using the unencrypted and unprotected communications app to speak with international figures like MBS, which is a violation of federal law.) And again, Kushner nor anyone at his gala table responded to Minhaj’s jokes. He did, however, reportedly speak with Page Six.
“I will continue to put pressure on privately,” he said of discussing the murder of Khashoggi and the imprisonment of al-Hathloul. As for whether or not his private discussions with the Saudi Crown Prince would go any further than this, Kushner said, “We’ll see.”