Although it was Donald Trump who was elected the 45th president of the United States in November, it was his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who attracted headlines in the mainstream media.
At the time, political analysts and commentators predicted that Kushner, a billionaire real estate heir, would wield significant influence over the president and presidency.
Nearly five months down the lane, it turns out they were absolutely right.
Kushner, 36, now serves as a senior adviser in the Trump administration. However, it appears his role is not limited to it.
Trump’s son-in-law is amassing a number of top-level White House responsibilities, and nearly all at once. For instance, just this week, Kushner
- prepared for a state visit by President Xi Jinping of China
- brokered peace in the Middle East,
- received briefings on how to fight against the Islamic State
- and set about revamping the entire federal government.
It started with his two-day trip to Iraq during which he accompanied Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The tour raised eyebrows, and perhaps rightly so, because Kushner visited the region even before the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
And it’s not just Kushner’s ever-expanding government role that has astounded experts — it’s also his lack of substantial political experience.
Kushner graduated from Harvard University in 2003 with a degree in sociology and later got joint law and business degrees from New York University. However, he has little to no experience relevant to the tasks that he has been assigned.
However, the same can be said about the president of the United States himself and most of his cabinet members like Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos or Trump's Israel ambassador, the hardline pro-settler lawyer David Friedman.
Yet, Kushner remains a significant exception. His influence is not only growing but also appears to be eclipsing that of other members of the Trump administration.
Case in point: White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who was at one point thought to be the de facto president of the U.S., was just kicked off the National Security Council. Later, it emerged Kushner, convinced the president to do so.
Considering this, it seems the de facto president of the country might just have been replaced.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Kevin Lamarque