Jared Kushner Makes Surprise Trip to Iraq
Trump adviser and son-in-law also key figure in this week's meeting with Chinese leader
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 3, 2017 8:44 AM CDT
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner in a file photo.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(Newser) – The influence of President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner apparently continues to grow: He arrived in Iraq on Monday for a surprise visit. The 36-year-old senior adviser traveled there with Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and plans to meet with Iraqi leaders and US officials to help assess the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, reports CNN. His dance card is full: Kushner also helped arrange the meeting later this week between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Florida, has been tasked with bringing peace to the Israelis and Palestinians, and had a role in talks with Mexico, notes the New York Times. The newspaper suggests that, with Kushner, the president is creating a "parallel structure" to the diplomatic efforts of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Kushner is "traveling on behalf of the president to express the president's support and commitment to the government of Iraq and US personnel currently engaged in the campaign" against the Islamic State, says Capt. Greg Hicks, a spokesman for Dunford. With them is homeland security adviser Thomas Bossert. The trip to Iraq comes amid intense fighting to reclaim the city of Mosul, where coalition airstrikes are believed to have killed dozens of civilians last month. The US also has deployed about 275 members of the 82nd Airborne Division to northern Iraq, notes NBC News. (Kushner also is leading a new government office.)

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