As President Donald Trump tries to nullify the 2020 election, pardons perpetrators of one of the most infamous atrocities of the Iraq War, and throws a last-minute wrench into government funding and COVID relief legislation, his most trusted adviser has been half a world away.
Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House aide, has spent a significant amount of time after the election overseas, including championing the work he’s done in the Middle East. He’s planted an olive tree at the Jerusalem Grove of Nations, elbow-bumped with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu, and taken the first direct flight between Morocco and Israel, after orchestrating a formal detente between the two nations—a detente lubricated by arms sales and a de facto go-ahead for territorial annexation of Palestinian land.
The trip has been celebratory. On Monday, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman announced that the courtyard in front of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem would be named in Kushner’s honor. But it’s also struck individuals back home as wildly, almost comically, ill-timed; and, they suspect, deliberately so. Jared, after all, has a habit of getting out of dodge at the most problematic moments and few times are as problematic as the current one.