In the most egregious example of nepotism in the history of the American presidency, President TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Interior returns BLM HQ to Washington France pulls ambassadors to US, Australia in protest of submarine deal MORE has allowed son-in-law and otherwise unqualified Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerHouse panel tees up Trump executive privilege fight in Jan. 6 probe The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US prepares vaccine booster plan House panel probing Jan. 6 attack seeks Trump records MORE to usurp the foreign policy and national security authorities of Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by AT&T - Supreme Court lets Texas abortion law stand Trump-era ban on travel to North Korea extended Want to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump MORE and National Security Advisor General H.R. McMaster.
Most recently, Kushner met this week with the president and foreign minister of Mexico and excluded from the meetings America’s exceptionally well qualified ambassador to Mexico, Roberta Jacobson.
When nepotism infects American foreign policy and harms our national security, it must end. No other president, of either party, would ever accept Trump’s son-in-law for major national security responsibility.
Kushner has been denied a high-level security clearance, has zero foreign policy or national security experience and is almost certainly under serious investigation by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE for questionable meetings with foreigners that were not properly disclosed in his security clearance forms. He has no business acting like a surrogate secretary of State or wannabe diplomat.
Jared Kushner is not qualified to be meeting with the leaders and cabinet members of any nation on behalf of the United States.
An internet search for “Kushner under investigation” provides a long list of additional reasons that he should not be negotiating with any foreign leaders about any foreign policy or any national security matter on behalf of the president, the American government or the American people.
For Kushner to exclude the widely admired and respected American ambassador to Mexico from his meetings this week raises extreme questions of his incompetence, since the ambassador knows infinitely more than Kushner does about U.S.-Mexico relations.
It also raises concerns over his motives since there is, at a minimum, widespread concern about whether he could be inappropriately advancing his business interests in meetings with foreign leaders or foreign bankers.
All of the above issues are highly relevant to Kushner’s dealings with Russia, China and various players in the Middle East.
Almost certainly, at least some of these issues are highly relevant to the special counsel investigation of meetings that Kushner and other Trump associates have had with foreigners, some of whom are dubious and shady characters while others are tied to foreign dictators who are hostile to America.
Kushner should not be negotiating with Russia, China, Mexico or any foreign nation on behalf of the United States. He should not be usurping the authority and responsibility of the national security advisor or the secretary of State.
If Trump wants him to do so, he should nominate Kushner to be secretary of State, and Kushner could testify under oath at his confirmation hearings.
American foreign policy under Trump is a disaster being run like a banana republic nation. Trump praises foreign dictators from China and Russia while angering and alienating our neighbors in Mexico and Canada and outraging and alarming our friends and allies in Europe and throughout Latin America.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has made a shambles of America’s foreign service. His national security advisor, the highly respected and widely admired General H.R. McMaster, appears to be poised to join a growing list of Trump associates who have resigned in protest or been driven out of their posts by players who should have no role making the national security policy of the nation.
Trump should move to name a more knowledgeable secretary of State than Tillerson, keep General McMaster as national security advisor and fire Kushner from all foreign policy and national security duties before outside factors make Kushner’s inevitable departure from Washington mandatory, whether the president likes it or not.
Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the U.S. House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.