There’s definitely a time and place for crisis PR. Usually, you need it before you think you do, and long after you believe everything is “all good.” But this isn’t a story about a brand that pulled the crisis PR trigger too late. It’s about the most prolific family in the country making a move that will raise eyebrows not only on the society and political pages but also among those of us in the PR biz. White House senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner’s family business has swapped PR companies, shifting to a company that specializes in crisis PR. Why would the Kushners’ real estate firm need a crisis PR rear guard? That’s the question that is filling up the headlines of all the Usual Suspects who do not approve of the President.
But, really, is it out of the ordinary for Kushner to feel he needs an added layer of specialized protection? Knowing a thing or three about crisis communication, it’s always the right idea to have a solid plan in place, ready to go, when you are playing at the level Kushner is. Everything around his Presidential father-in-law is beat to death on the front page, and there are more than a handful of “intrepid reporters” working overtime to find something – anything – they can use to bury anyone associated with the President. Can you really blame Jared and Co. for believing they needed to bring in a crisis specialist? And, let’s not forget, his previous representation was no slouch in that department either.
Shortly after joining the White House team, Kushner’s company hired another famous PR brand to protect his brand and his family name. In the short time with that company, Kushner’s family and business dealings have faced a constant, withering barrage of investigations and allegations. “Scrutiny” is too light a word to use to describe what they’ve dealt with. Comes with the territory, sure, but the nature of this is at another level.
Some are saying the PR company switch is in the wake of reports placing Kushner in the room during a now infamous meeting between Donald Trump, Jr., Paul Manafort, and Natalia Veselnitskaya. No one seems to know what was actually said at the meeting, but many in and out of the media don’t seem to care overmuch. It’s all about appearances with this story, and thus yet another withering barrage of innuendo and assumption was born.
Other reports say that previous PR firm initiated the break with the Kushners and not the other way around. Details are murky on that one, but there’s no doubt the Kushners need to have a top crisis PR firm in their corner. Just keeping on top of the narrative is a daunting task in the epicenter of DC politics. And then there’s actually trying to get day to day business done.