Presidential Adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner has been noticeably missing from his role as the White House's chief negotiator for Middle East peace.
On Saturday's AM Joy on MSNBC, host Joy Reid asked national security expert Malcolm Nance, "where is Jared?"
"Jared's job was to solve all the Middle East problems. He's besties with the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia. He's pitching loan ideas to Qatar."
"Who cares?" Nance replied that Kushner is "not a player" in U.S.-Middle East diplomacy. Nance, a former naval intelligence officer, said that the Trump Administration's fledgling Middle East policies are of greater concern than the whereabouts of the president's son-in-law.
"Our diplomacy is a giant vacuum, not just in the Middle East, but around the world. Many ambassadors have not been appointed, no under secretaries are sitting in their positions, so that means General Mattis and the Defense Department are the de facto diplomats in this engagement."
We don't even have a secretary of state. https://t.co/850cYG4hxb— HuffPost Politics (@HuffPost Politics) 1523800748.0
'Where's Jared?' MSNBC's Joy Reid mocks Trump Middle East expert Kushner's absence during Syria attack… https://t.co/2ibWR7s6gw— 🌊 R Saddler (@🌊 R Saddler) 1523724061.0
MSNBC host Ayman Mohyeldin agreed with Nance, noting that the U.S. is currently without a secretary of state, that our state department has a historic personnel shortage, and that Trump has yet to appoint an ambassador to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or Qatar.
"We don't have an ambassador in Egypt, in Saudi Arabia, in Qatar, three of the strongest American allies in the region. In addition to ... that we do not have a secretary of state. So you don't even have the diplomatic foot soldiers who are waking up in capitals of Arab cities today and saying to the governments, 'Here are the next steps. Here's what we need from you, here's what we can offer to you to get on board with this.'"
Nance furthered the justifiable skepticism over Kushner's role and the Trump administration's approach toward Middle East peace, describing a "diplomatic vacuum" that has emerged in the world's most tumultuous region. Nance also warned that without sufficient leadership, American military involvement in the Middle East has no end in sight.
"You're asking what happens in terms of the message we're sending? We're not sending any messages," Nance pointed out. "They are actually speaking and doing diplomacy with a hammer. And if that's the case, then we're going to be fighting these wars a very long time."
Nance also criticized Trump's Friday night air strikes against Syria, explaining that destroying chemical weapons facilities will do little to stop Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's slaughter of his own people, nor will it ease the bloody civil war that has decimated Syria for the last seven years.
"What we are doing is flailing about... We went out, we struck the organizational infrastructure of the chemical weapons but we did nothing to present a threat to the regime itself"
.@MALCOLMNANCE: What we are doing is flailing about... We went out, we struck the organizational infrastructure of… https://t.co/RGuYdM5fr9— Formerly 'AM JOY' on @MSNBC (@Formerly 'AM JOY' on @MSNBC) 1523719418.0
President Donald Trump named Kushner, a fellow New York City real estate baron, as his top emissary to the Middle East after taking office last year. One of Kushner's primary tasks was to negotiate peace between Israel and the Palestinians. "If you can't produce Middle East peace, nobody can," Trump told Kushner the night before his inauguration.
Kushner has also assumed the role of liaison between the United States and other Arab nations, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, The United Arab Emirates, and Qatar, all of whom are allies in the ongoing war on terror.
Recently, Kushner came under fire for attempting to negotiate a loan from the Qatari government to his family's business. The Kushner family has a $1.2 billion balloon payment due on 666 Fifth Avenue, their flagship Manhattan high-rise. Kushner's security clearance was revoked in February because of the conflicts of interest that have arisen due to his intermingling of his role in the government and his family business.
Questions this week so far: - What did the FBI get in the Cohen office/home/hotel raids? - Who gave Jared $1.2 bill… https://t.co/HW0TmG2xpG— Joy-Ann 😷Reid (@Joy-Ann 😷Reid) 1523314869.0