A spokesperson for Tony Blair on Sunday denied a report he wants to become US President Donald Trump’s adviser on the Middle East.
According to The Mail on Sunday newspaper, the former British prime minister met with Trump’s son-in-law and key adviser Jared Kushner last week to discuss working for the Republican president.
The weekly tabloid said Blair had met Kushner three times since September, including a three-hour meeting last week at the White House.
Kushner has been named by Trump as his point-man on Mideast peace. Blair is looking to become Kushner’s adviser on any Trump peace effort, the story claimed.
“The story in the Mail on Sunday is an invention,” a spokesperson for Blair said in a statement. “Mr. Blair has made no such ‘pitch’ to be the President‘s Middle East envoy. Neither has he had any discussions about taking such a role or any role working for the new President. He has been working on the peace process for 10 years. He continues to do so. He does so in a private capacity. He will continue to do it in that way. Period.”
The Mail cited “a well-placed source” saying that “Blair has been pitching hard for this job and Trump’s people are taking him very seriously.”
Blair, who led the center-left Labour Party, was Britain’s prime minister from 1997 to 2007.
Despite being from the opposite side of politics, he enjoyed close relations with Republican US president George W. Bush.
Blair won three general elections but his role in leading Britain into the war in Iraq alongside Bush has hurt his legacy at home.
After leaving office, Blair was the envoy of the Middle East Quartet until 2015. The group comprises the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States.
Blair has taken prominent stances in recent months. In a high-profile speech last month, he urged Britons who support the European Union to “rise up” and persuade Brexit voters to change their mind about leaving the bloc.
He also slapped down the “utter hypocrisy” of a report last month in The Mail on Sunday’s sister title, the Daily Mail, about the release of a Guantanamo detainee.
Blair wrote an article in The New York Times newspaper on Friday where he called for a centrist new coalition that is “popular, not populist,” in order for liberal democracy to survive and thrive in the face of rightist populism.