(JTA) — Former U.S. Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson said that Jared Kushner bypassed him and the Department of Defense on foreign policy.
“It makes me angry,” Tillerson told lawmakers and their aides, according to a New York Times report Friday. “I didn’t have a say. The State Department’s views were never expressed” during exchanges between foreign leaders and Kushner, the president’s Jewish son-in-law and senior advisor.
Tillerson’s anger was about at least two incident since 2017, he said last month during an interview with the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Lawmakers had asked Tillerson to talk about the inner workings of the Trump administration. The Times and several other news organizations received copies of the transcript.
In one incident, Kushner talked with Saudi and Emirati leaders about their secret plans to impose a blockade on a critical American ally, Qatar. In another, Kushner met with the foreign minister of Mexico without Tillerson’s knowledge.
In some cases, as in the blockade of Qatar, where the United States has its main Middle East military air base, Kushner’s moves forced Tillerson and former defense minister James Mattis to scramble to contain the damage to American diplomacy, according to The Times.
Tillerson had raised objections to Kushner, who said he’d try to do better, the former official said. Before joining the White House, Kushner ran the family’s real estate business.
A White House spokesman, Hogan Gidley, told The Times that “Jared consistently follows proper protocols” with the National Security Council and State Department.