- Former WeWork CEO Adam Neumann’s friendly relationship with Jared Kushner led him to visit the White House, and eventually led him to meet President Donald Trump in 2018.
- The relationship is chronicled in the new book “Billion Dollar Loser,” which follows the rise and fall of Neumann and WeWork.
- According the book, Neumann and Kushner met as young real estate moguls in New York City. After Trump’s victory in 2016, Neumann quietly visited Kushner at the White House and opted not to speak out about Trump’s travel ban.
- Neumann also started taking on some of Trump’s characteristics, adopting the term “fake news” and holding rally-like company meetings.
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Former WeWork CEO Adam Neumann’s friendly relationship with Jared Kushner led him to visit the White House, and eventually led him to meet President Donald Trump in 2018.
That’s according to the new book “Billion Dollar Loser” by Reeves Wiedeman, which chronicles WeWork’s rapid rise and the scandals and other problems that have befallen Neumann and the company in the last year.
Wiedeman reported on the relationship between Neumann and Kushner, who met as two aspiring real estate moguls in New York City and bonded over their shared religious faith. WeWork leased space in multiple Kushner-owned buildings in New York, and Neumann and his wife, Rebekah, were friendly enough with Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, to have dinner at a New York City restaurant following Trump’s victory in 2016, Wiedeman reported.
In 2017, Neumann was invited to the White House, an invitation WeWork’s public affairs team urged him to turn down. At the same time, the Trump administration had just announced its travel ban, and WeWork insiders pushed Neumann to take a stand against the decision, particularly since he was an immigrant himself. But according to Wiedeman, Neumann decided to quietly visit the White House anyway and to not speak publicly about the travel ban so that WeWork wouldn’t feel pressured to take a stand on future issues.
Following Trump’s victory, WeWork employees started noticing Neumann adopting some of the president’s behaviour, Wiedeman reported. Similarly to Trump rallies, WeWork executives would hype up the crowd at company events before Neumann took the stage. And much like Trump, Neumann reportedly started using the term “fake news” when people were critical of WeWork, according to Wiedeman.
In August 2018, Neumann’s connection to Trump came full circle when they met in person: the Neumanns, Kushner, and Ivanka Trump were having dinner at the Trump golf course in New Jersey when the president stopped by their table, Wiedeman reported.
A spokesperson for Neumann did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
Neumann was CEO of WeWork from the company’s launch in 2010 until late 2019, when he stepped down from the role and from the company’s board of directors as part of a buyout deal with SoftBank. Neumann’s departure came after WeWork was rocked by controversy following the filing of its paperwork for an initial public offering â€” the filing revealed staggering losses topping $US1.6 billion.
The revelations led WeWork to put its IPO on hold, close its educational arm, WeGrow, and attempt to sell some of the businesses it had previously acquired.
Soon after, the spotlight fell on Neumann, who was revealed to be entangled in a web loans and conflicts of interest, including family involvement in WeWork’s business. An exposÃ© by The Wall Street Journal reported that Neumann had created a hard-partying culture within WeWork, including drugs and drinking, and that he and his wife, Rebekah, who was also involved in WeWork, were known for their cutthroat management styles.