Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump leave foreign trip early

Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump leave foreign trip early
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Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump will leave the president’s nine-day foreign trip early to return to Washington. 

The senior aides are leaving Thursday morning, following President Trump’s Wednesday audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican.

“The plan was always for them to go back to D.C. after Rome,” a White House official told reporters traveling with the president on Wednesday. 

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Trump's massive traveling entourage has shrunk for the back end of his nine-day trip, which features summit meetings with NATO allies and the Group of Seven industrialized nations. 

Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, is one of the president’s closest confidants. The official explained his decision to leave early, saying Kushner “helped plan and oversee the first part of the trip” that included the stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel and at the Vatican.

The purpose of those visits was to use holy sites of the world’s three largest monotheistic religions to urge leaders to stamp out extremism and terrorism, aides said. 

The unusually large group of staff traveling with the president has been closely watched amid talk of a staff shakeup at the White House. 

Chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Stephen Bannon returned to Washington after the Saudi leg of the trip, just two days after the president departed for his first foreign tour. White House officials have said their travel plans were long planned. 

Officials still traveling with the president include Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, national security adviser H.R. McMaster, deputy national security adviser Dina Powell, press secretary Sean Spicer, top communications aide Hope Hicks and social media director Dan Scavino. 

First lady Melania Trump plans to remain with the president until the end of the trip.