Since President Donald Trump’s inauguration, Jared Kushner has served as the administration’s point person in the Middle East, eclipsing even the secretary of state in some meetings with foreign leaders.
But when it comes to the historic opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, a move Kushner championed behind the scenes, the president’s son-in-law will be on the ground as an attendee of the U.S. delegation, not as its leader.
That position will be filled by Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan. It is “normal protocol” for the highest-level official in attendance to act as the leader of the delegation. And Sullivan technically outranks Kushner, a senior White House adviser.
But the line-up for Monday’s embassy opening — a signature Trump policy that makes good on a campaign promise but could threaten an already moribund peace process — was interpreted by tea-leaf readers in the region as a sign that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans to assert himself in the Middle East in a way that his predecessor, Rex Tillerson, never did.
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