Although Rex Tillerson is officially the U.S. secretary of state, President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, fulfills a parallel foreign policy role that was demonstrated during Trump’s first overseas trip last week.
Kushner reportedly is the most capable White House official when it comes to vetting different viewpoints and recommending policy to the president. His skills have been put to use addressing critical issues such as Middle East peace, and facilitating the relationship between the U.S. and China. Despite his efforts, Kushner has recently come under scrutiny in the special investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
According to a White House official, Kushner planned and managed the first part of Trump’s recent foreign trip which included stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel and Italy, which highlighted three of the world’s most followed religions.
Axios reported that Kushner has been responsible for the following accomplishments:
- Assisted in negotiating the $100+ billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia.
- Was instrumental in NAFTA discussions and facilitating calls to Trump from the presidents of Mexico and Canada.
- Assisted in arranging Trump’s February meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.
- Through his personal relationship with Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, Kushner helped ease relations between Trump and Mexico’s President Enrique Nieto.
- Helped organize Trump’s meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping in Mar-a-Lago in April.
Meanwhile, Tillerson has made trips to Belgium, China, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Turkey and Russia, and met with foreign leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Japan’s President Shinzo Abe and South Korea’s president and foreign minister
Axios reports that, to date, “Tillerson and Kushner seem to be working together smoothly. Tillerson lets Kushner take the lead on Mexico, the Middle East and even China, while Tillerson handles Russia, meets with other world leaders, participates in foreign councils and forums and gives the public briefings. Trump likes that Tillerson is discrete and doesn’t elevate himself above the president, and Kushner has told associates he appreciates that there have been few leaks out of State.”
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