White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner is stoking a widely reported feud with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson by pursuing his hopes that a relationship with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince will lead to a peace deal in the Middle East.
Kushner was given the task of creating peace in the Middle East as part of his broad portfolio when Trump took office in January. Now, CNN reports that Tillerson is upset by what he believes to be a dangerous strategy by Kushner that involves pushing an agreement with Saudi Arabia which would create a Palestinian state and “normalization between Israel and its Arab neighbors.”
In return, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman would get “U.S. acquiescence” for his plans to reform his country and push back against Iran.
CNN reports that Kushner believes that the crown prince can get the Palestinians to accept the proposal and prevent a Sunni revolt, and this is angering Tillerson, who thinks Kushner is naive.
“He doesn’t believe that Jared understands the tinder box that is the Middle East,” an aide told the outlet. “These are people who have been waiting around for a weak link to manipulate.”
“It’s a gamble and it’s not going to be pretty,” a senior administration official said.
While some officials told CNN that Kushner has been “tight-lipped” about the strategy, others disagreed and said that Kushner had been transparent.
The reported disagreement comes after the Washington Examiner reported last week that Tillerson’s decision not to send a senior State Department delegation for Ivanka Trump’s widely touted trip to the annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India was “the last straw” for Kushner, who has since called for Tillerson to be fired.
Reports surfaced last week that Tillerson is to be replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, although President Trump later denied those reports on Twitter.
Kushner has been undergoing his own media scrutiny, as he is increasingly in the spotlight of FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into alleged Russian interference. Both the Washington Post and the New York Times ran in-depth pieces last month on how Kushner’s influence was “shrinking” in the Trump White House.
Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY.