Jared Kushner in Iraq now? He's a busy guy...

Is Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner in Iraq? That seems to be the general consensus in the media, though the agenda is a bit on the vague side. It’s a story which appears to have come from an unnamed source in the New York Times (does that mean we should include the phrase presented without evidence?) and later picked up in Politico. He’s allegedly traveling with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs to prop up relations with that country and discuss plans to finish off ISIS.

President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, is visiting Iraq with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, an official said Sunday night.

Details about the trip to the Middle East with Gen. Joseph Dunford were not released. A senior administration official said Kushner wanted to see the situation in Iraq for himself and show support for the Iraqi government. The official wasn’t authorized to speak about confidential meetings by name and demanded anonymity…

His visit marked an early foray for the Trump administration into the situation in Iraq and came just two weeks after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said he was assured by the president the U.S. will accelerate its support for his country’s struggle against the Islamic State group.

This will probably wind up simply being an administrative footnote caused by some routine editorial snafu, but the reason I initially found myself asking about the veracity of the story was the fact that Reuters had run with it. But then, in the wee hours of the morning, they retracted their piece entirely.

The story “Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner visits Iraq, U.S. official says”, the accompanying alert and subsequent update are wrong and are withdrawn.

The story… and subsequent update are wrong and are withdrawn? That’s just odd coming from Reuters.

Still, by the time I was making my second cup of coffee this morning, NBC News was running with it so it seems to be happening. But why? That’s not a knock against Kushner in any fashion. (Or General Dunford for that matter.) He seems like a sharp guy and obviously has the full confidence of the President. But he’s also got a lot on his plate these days already. Politico correctly notes that he’s been tossed into the mix on everything from modernizing the government (a rather gauzy and potentially alarming description if I’ve ever heard one) to improving relations with the Middle East, Canada and Mexico. He’s also on tap to help out with the upcoming meeting with the President of China later this week.

As I said… he’s a busy guy, not to mention landing such lofty assignments at such a young age with pretty much zero diplomatic experience. The Iraq situation is serious to be sure, and Mad Dog Mattis submitted a plan to crush ISIS in that region over a month ago. But the Iraqi government will need to be onboard with any major initiatives there before we can begin. Is that what Kushner is there for? If so, then the position he holds at the White House is even more influential than many had been speculating, going far beyond the typical role of a presidential “advisor.”

I think the only reason a story like this sets off any sort of alarm bells for me is the whole nepotism factor, which most of the country is slowly having to get used to. I mean, odds are that we would have been sending somebody to Iraq to lock down these details, so the trip shouldn’t really be big news. But the fact that it’s the President’s son-in-law is still jarring to see in print. But who knows? Perhaps this will turn out to be a perfect test for his diplomatic abilities. If he brings back a deal which winds up resolving most of the security issues in Iraq and the final stages of getting rid of the caliphate, then Trump’s confidence in this young man will have proved to be well founded.