Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told a House Foreign Affairs Committee panel in May that Jared Kushner, president Donald Trump‘s son-in-law, had bypassed him when dealing with crucial foreign policy matters. The two instances described during the seven-hour interview were with the Mexican foreign minister and with representatives from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Tillerson described how Kushner had gone behind his back in order to negotiate with the Mexican foreign minister, and how the former cabinet official had only found out about the meeting when he stumbled on the two at a Washington restaurant.

The House panel then described a dinner between Kushner and Saudi and Emirati officials in Riyadh in 2017, which Tillerson was not aware of prior to the hearing. During the meeting, Kushner discussed the possibility of imposing a blockade against Qatar, a crucial American ally and the host of the main U.S. military base in the region. When Tillerson heard about the meeting he replied, “It makes me angry. I didn’t have a say. The State Department’s views were never expressed.”


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In some cases, such as the blockade of Qatar, government officials such as Tillerson and former Defense Secretary James Mattis were forced to scramble to repair the diplomatic damage done by Kushner. Tillerson told Kushner that he was concerned with the way that he was behaving, to which the president’s son-in-law replied that he would “try to do better.”

The hearing, which was an attempt by the House to learn more about the inner workings of the Trump administration, provided Tillerson an opportunity to drag on his former job, from which he was fired in early 2018. The former Exxon executive spent much of his short tenure in office clashing with the president, who he reportedly referred to as a “moron,” until the differences between the two led to his forced departure.


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