Trump son-in-law to tackle Middle East peace

Kushner was still negotiating real estate deals a week after the election

Jared Kushner
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

(CNN) – President-elect Donald Trump’s 36-year-old son-in-law is set to be sworn in as a senior adviser on Friday, and he can expect to hit the ground running. Trump is going to ask him to do something that no diplomat in the world has been able to achieve.

One of the crucial assignments Donald Trump already has in mind for his son-in-law: bringing peace to the Middle East.

Trump said, “He’ll make a deal with Israel that no one else can – you know, he’s a natural.”

Israel and the Palestinians are currently not even talking to each other. Getting them to agree on a deal has stumped America’s most experienced diplomats for decades. Analysts say in order for Jared Kushner to resolve one of the planet’s most intractable problems, he has to overcome at least two significant challenges: his lack of experience in diplomacy, and President-elect Trump’s rhetoric.

CNN Senior Political Analyst Ron Brownstein said, “Donald Trump has unreservedly aligned himself with an Israeli government that has been at the least, extremely skeptical of moving forward with any realistic two-state solution. And in the course of connecting so closely with Benjamin Netanyahu, President-elect Trump has diminished the ability of the U.S. I think, to present itself as an honest broker.”

Monday night, Jared Kushner’s appointment as a senior adviser to the president is also drawing controversy, because he’s married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka. Transition team officials say they do not believe anti-nepotism laws apply to presidential advisers, but legal analysts are split on the subject.

Kushner is pledging to take no salary, and give up his management roles at his own family’s $1-billion real estate empire and the newspaper he owns. His lawyer said he’ll also sell off a significant number of his assets, including his flagship building in Manhattan to his brother, or to a family trust controlled by his mother.

Ethics watchdogs question whether he can fully cut himself off from having a financial stake in government decisions.

Larry Noble, General Counsel at the Campaign Legal Center said, “The family members will still benefit from the decisions he makes in the White House. And on the other end of this, is, what happens when he leaves government office? Are they then going to give him his interests back? It’s not really divesting himself of this. It’s not really separating himself from his financial interests.”

Donald Trump could still face political blowback for appointing his daughter’s husband to such a powerful position.

Political Law Attorney Matthew Sanderson noted, “It may be legally questionable and politically perilous for him to choose someone close to him, and the number one qualification being that they’re related to Donald Trump.”

Despite having no experience in politics or government, Jared Kushner is said to be one of Donald Trump’s most trusted advisers. Some analysts call him the ‘Trump whisperer’.

Monica Langley of the Wall St. Journal explained, “When two factions are fighting, like during the campaign when some fiery conservatives wanted one thing, and some establishment Republicans wanted another. Jared will bring them together and work it out.”

The New York Times says that Kushner was still negotiating real estate deals a week after the election.