In a further show of his instrumental role in shaping the Republican presidential candidate's foreign policy, Donald Trump's son-in-law and campaign adviser Jared Kushner was reported to have been the man behind the former's surprising visit to Mexico this week.
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According to The Wall Street Journal, Kushner, who was reported to have played an important part in foreign policy matters relating to Israel and to have even drafted Trump's speech to the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, was the one who first suggested a visit to Mexico. When Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto extended the invitation both presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton declined but Kushner was quick to accept on Trump's behalf and to organize the visit. Kushner also took part in the meeting between Trump and the president.
Trump met on Wednesday with President Enrique Pena Nieto in Mexico, a country which he has frequently vilified as the main source of illegal immigration and drug smuggling to the United States. Following the visit, Trump said that if elected he would deport anyone who is in the U.S. illegally and vowed that Mexico would pay for the construction of a "great border wall" between the two countries.
Kushner, an Orthodox Jew who is married to Trump's daughter Ivanka, is playing an active role in virtually every aspect of the New York real estate magnate's presidential bid. Kushner's influence, as described by several people with direct knowledge of his role, has included the selection and vetting of potential running mates, planning for his father-in-law's transition to the White House, fundraising, and the development of major policies.
Ahead of AIPAC's annual conference last March, Kushner reportedly advised his father-in-law to lay out concrete policies that would help smooth over relations with the Jewish community. Kushner also helped by fielding a call from Israel's ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, who wanted to offer Trump the Israeli government's perspective ahead of the AIPAC speech, according to sources.
Kushner came under fire after he tried to defend Trump following the storm surrounding the tweet issued by his campaign featuring Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, a Star of David and a pile of money. In an op-ed, Kushner noted that the issue of racism "is not idle philosophy to me. I am the grandson of Holocaust survivors."