Jared Kushner trades Middle East responsibilities for campaign work as he oversees Donald Trump’s re-election effort and makes spending decisions from inside the White House
- Jared Kushner has stepped back from his Middle East portfolio
- He will run Donald Trump’s re-election effort in the White House
- Kushner was not present in Situation Room for meeting on Iran missile attack
- His portfolio never included Iran; he was running point on Israel-Palestinian peace plan until last year
- Other Trump aides have taken over that process but have not yet released their blueprint
Jared Kushner has stepped back from his Middle East policy responsibilities, transition to running Donald Trump’s re-election effort from his perch at the White House.
The president’s son-in-law was notably absent from photographs in the Situation Room released by the White House after Iran launched a missile attack on U.S. targets in Iraq.
A person familiar with Kushner’s situation said Friday that advising the president on Iran was never part of Kushner’s responsibilities. He was until last year the West Wing’s point-man on achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Now he’s instead positioning himself to be the overseer of Trump’s re-election campaign, The New York Times reported.
The source said he helmed campaign-related meetings at Mar-a-Lago during the holiday break, and has been entrusted with making significant decisions about where the campaign spends its millions.
Jared Kushner has stepped back from his Middle East portfolio
Kushner will oversee Donald Trump’s re-election effort in the White House and is already making significant spending decisions
He worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign and later testified before Congress about a meeting he attended with Donald Trump Jr. and then-campaign-manager Paul Manafort with a Russian lawyer who claimed to have dirt on Hillary Clinton.
Kushner spent much of 2019 dealing with the fallout from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, which ultimately found no collusion between Trump’s 2016 and Russia.
There have been signs his political wingspan is broadening.
Kushner spoke to Republican Sen. Mike Lee Wednesday night after the conservative Republican complained about the lack of information given to Congress in a briefing by Trump administration officials on the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.
He told the senato—who has influence with the conservative Republican base the president will need in November’s election—that he would relay his concerns to the president.
‘Sen. Lee was planning on reaching out to President Trump but then Jared Kushner called Sen. Lee last night, and they talked, and Kushner said he would share Sen. Lee’s concerns with the president,’ a Lee aide told DailyMail.com.
Kushner’s allies told The Times he was happy to step back from the Middle East after Mike Pompeo became secretary of state, having more faith in him than his predecessor Rex Tillerson.
Additionally Kushner is close to National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien and Brian Hook, the special representative for Iran.
Kushner, who is married to Ivanka Trump and is celebrating his birthday Friday, had an original goal of unveiling a peace plan for the Middle East.
But his work has been shrouded in secrecy and speculation.
And he has faced questions on what exactly he has accomplished since he joined the administration.
It was noted Jared Kushner was not present in the above photo the White House released of a meeting in the Situation Room on the Iran missile attack on U.S. targets in the Middle East
Jared Kushner was in an Oval Office meeting Monday with the president and Khalid bin Salman, a member of the Saudi royal family
‘Jared’s Middle East portfolio is primarily focused on developing a peace plan between the Israelis and the Palestinians,’ White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told The Times. ‘He gets involved in other matters where appropriate to further President Trump’s objectives.’
In September, Kushner named a new point man on his Middle East peace team, his 31-year-old assistant Avi Berkowitz, a move that caused controversy and led to questions about Berkowitz’s qualifications for the role.
Berkowitz appointment came as Kushner’s plan for Middle East peace has yet to see the light of day. The plan has been kept under lock and key and the White House has continually delayed the release of its details.
It has never been seen in public and there is no word on when it will be released.
Kushner also worked on a criminal justice plan signed into law by the president.
And he was in an Oval Office meeting Monday with Khalid bin Salman, a member of the Saudi royal family, and President Trump.
Kushner is married to Ivanka Trump, the couple are seen with their children Arabella Rose Kushner and Joseph Frederick Kushner at the New Year’s Eve celebration in Mar-a-Lago
Jared Kushner celebrated his birthday Friday
Ivanka Trump posted her birthday wishes to her husband
That meeting was not on the president’s schedule and the White House only confirmed its existence after the Saudis posted photos from it on their official social media accounts.
Additionally, Kushner has taken charge of delivering the president’s biggest promise from his 2016 campaign – building his border wall.
Trump wants to see 450 new miles of his long promised and yet unfinished border wall completed by the election.
Kushner’s new duties as construction manager came after the acting head of Customs and Border Protection, Mark Morgan, told reporters in November the administration has still not completed construction of a single mile of new border wall. Repairs have been made to existing structures.