Jared Kushner celebrated his 37th birthday Wednesday, but his plate was loaded with more than cake.
Since landing in the White House, President’s Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser has worn more hats than most. Kushner has vowed to find the solutions to some of the country’s most long-standing and complicated issues, all while navigating the spotlight cast by an investigation into his family’s real-estate company as well as Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling during the 2016 election.
Here are a few of the jobs Jared’s juggling on behalf of the Trump administration:
Jared Kushner is now pushing for prison reform
Kushner’s latest cause was announced Wednesday following months of quiet research. The former businessman reportedly spent weeks meeting with stakeholders, including reformed convicts and religious leaders, to discuss opportunities to change the United States prison system.
The issue of prison reform hits close to home for Kushner, whose father, Charles Kushner, spent 14 months behind bars. The elder Kushner pleaded guilty in 2004 to 18 counts involving filing false tax returns, making false statements and witness tampering.
The senior White House aide has also faced accusations of impropriety. Months into Trump’s presidency, it was revealed Kushner failed to disclose an encounter with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, as is required when applying for to-security clearance.
The meeting ahead of Trump’s inauguration landed Kushner at the center of Mueller’s investigation and he has since been questioned in the collusion probe.
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Office of American Innovation
Donald Trump in the White House
Trump tapped Kushner in March to lead the White House Office of American Innovation, a branch created to advise the President on “policies and plans that improve Government operations and services, improve the quality of life for Americans now and in the future, and spur job creations.”
Kushner has since used the office to establish the first-ever American Technology Council and organized a series of summits with major tech executives to discuss how Silicon Valley can assist in bringing the government and its technology into the modern age.
The council recently released a report with 50 recommendations aimed at modernizing the U.S. technology infrastructure and strengthening cyber security.
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The Middle East
Despite being a former real estate developer with limited foreign policy experience, ending the enduring conflict in the Middle East is also on Kushner’s to-do list.
One day before his inauguration Trump lauded his son-in-law, saying, “If you can’t produce peace in the Middle East, nobody can.”
The top aide has since taken trips to the area and has had conversations with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in a bid to start the peace process.
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Kushner in December, during his first-ever public remarks on the issue said an end to the decades-long conflict is “achievable,” but did not offer other details.
“We’re deliberate about not setting time frames,” he said.
The Opioid Epidemic
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Kushner is also responsible for crafting a strategy to battle the opioid epidemic – a favored topic for President Trump during the 2016 campaign.
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Trump in March selected his former presidential rival Chris Christie to helm a commission devoted to opioid abuse, which Kushner oversees.
Drug overdose is the leading cause of death for Americans under 50.
Opioids, including prescriptions, heroin and fentanyl, resulted in the deaths of more than 42,000 people in 2016– more than any year on record, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
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Kushner also played a key role in U.S talks with Canada, which culminated in Trump’s decision to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reportedly phoned Kushner after hearing of Trump’s intention to sign an executive order withdrawing from NAFTA. After touching base with the White House, Kushner phoned Trudeau and informed him Trump was prepared to speak on the matter, a White House aide said on condition of anonymity.
The Canadian press, however, said it was Kushner who reached out to Trudeau to encourage a conversation between the leaders.
Dealing with China
Kushner emerged as the administration’s point person for China relations after successfully facilitating Trump’s first meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-A-Lago in April. He reportedly provides a “key channel for high-level interaction between the White House and Chinese leadership and has been considered the “man to know” by Chinese leaders.
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Kushner’s role in foreign policy, particularly in China, almost immediately raised conflict of interest concerns given his business ties.
With News Wire Services
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