On Monday, U.S. military officials confirmed to The New York Times that Jared Kushner — President Donald Trump's son-in-law and one of his many White House senior advisers — had arrived in Iraq as a guest of Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Why is Jared Kushner going to Iraq? This appears to be the question du jour, though a spokesman for Dunford told The Times Kushner accompanied the general "to receive an update on the status of the counter-ISIS campaign in Iraq and Syria.” Navy Capt. Greg Hicks continued that Kushner is “traveling on behalf of the president to express the president’s support and commitment to the government of Iraq and U.S. personnel currently engaged in the campaign." Neither the White House nor representatives for Kushner responded to Romper's request for comment.
Despite the official reason for Kushner's trip to Iraq, there's a much bigger question to be answered: Just what is Jared Kushner's job at the White House, anyway? Kushner was appointed as a senior adviser to Trump early January. The Washington Post first described Kushner's White House role as a "broad portfolio" of issues.
But since January, Jared Kushner's White House portfolio has exploded with responsibility, as POLITICO noted on Saturday, to include "negotiating an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, helping oversee relations with Canada, China and Mexico and, as of this week, reinventing the federal government through the new White House Office of American Innovation."
Trump announced that Kushner would head the newly created White House Office of American Innovation, which will focus on using practices from the private sector to strengthen the American government. Basically, Trump has officially tapped Kushner to find out how to run the country like a business. Oh, and Trump wants Kushner to fix America's prison system, too, as BuzzFeed noted. Trump's 36-year-old son-in-law has been described as one of the president's most trusted advisers.
Seriously, is there anything that Jared Kushner can't do? Or rather, just how many bullet points can fit under one job heading on Kushner's White House resume? He's certainly taking on a wide range of issues and responsibilities under President Trump, and as one of the president's most trusted advisers, Kushner's influence on Trump could actually have huge implications for American policy, both domestic and foreign, as his Iraq trip shows. According to a POLITICO piece, some in the White House aren't too keen with Kushner's influence.
And given Kushner's own conflicts of interest — nearly as extensive and entangled as his father-in-law's — his motivations are just as important to examine closely when it comes to White House policy. Maybe that's why the Senate Intelligence Committee plans to question Kushner in the ongoing investigation of Russian interference in the U.S. election — and Kushner's meetings with Russian ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak.
Kushner is expected to return to the United States sometime later this week, according to officials.