President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner’s surprise visit to Iraq on Monday is just the latest addition to an already-lengthy list of tasks he’s doing in the Trump administration.
Kushner — who is married to Trump’s daughter, Ivanka — serves as his father-in-law’s senior adviser, as well as head of the newly created Office of American Innovation. But those are just his titles. The 36-year-old, who had never held a government job, is involved in at least a half-dozen high-profile issues as part of the White House team.
His charge as the head of the Office of American Innovation, for starters, is overseeing a group of people with the authority to overhaul the federal bureaucracy. The team plans initially to focus on re-imagining Veterans Affairs, fulfilling a Trump campaign promise of reforming care for veterans.
Read: Kushner’s attempt to tame bureaucracy may run into same difficulties Clinton faced.
Another major issue falls under Kushner’s purview as the head of the new office: fighting opioid abuse. On March 29, the White House announced the Office of American Innovation would work closely with the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.
Then there’s Kushner’s involvement with manufacturing. Advising Trump means Kushner is a regular attendee at high-profile meetings on domestic and foreign affairs, and on Feb. 23, Trump said Kushner had been “so involved” with a push to bring manufacturing back to the U.S. Trump thanked his son-in-law in a meeting in the State Dining Room of the White House, which was also attended by the chief executives of Ford Motor Co.
and Lockheed Martin
Monday, Kushner was in Iraq with Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Dunford’s spokesman said Kushner was in Iraq “on behalf of the president” to express his support to the Iraqi government and U.S. personnel involved in the campaign against ISIS, NBC reported.
It’s not Kushner’s first foreign-policy involvement. The Chinese ambassador to the U.S. has reportedly established a back channel to Kushner, and the work of the two men will bear fruit when Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet at Mar-a-Lago on Thursday and Friday.
Iraq and China are enormous issues themselves. But about two months ago, Trump said he would appoint Kushner to broker a deal on one of the most intractable issues in international relations: peace in the wider Middle East. It’s clear Kushner has been involved in the issue, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referring to Trump’s aide by name during a Feb. 15 joint news conference.