Two new reports put Jared Kushner at the center of the Trump administration’s incompetent response to the coronavirus threat.
Writes Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman: “Sources told me Trump is regretting that Kushner swooped into the coronavirus response last week. Kushner, according to sources, encouraged Trump to treat the emergency as a P.R. problem when Fauci and others were calling for aggressive action. ‘This was Jared saying the world needs me to solve another problem,’ a former White House official said. One source briefed on the internal conversations told me that Kushner advised Trump not to call a national emergency during his Oval Office address on March 11 because ‘it would tank the markets.’ The markets cratered anyway, and Trump announced the national emergency on Friday. ‘They had to clean that up on Friday,’ another former West Wing official said. Trump was also said to be angry that Kushner oversold Google’s coronavirus testing website when in fact the tech giant had a fledgling effort. Trump got slammed in the press for promoting the phantom Google product. ‘Jared told Trump that Google was doing an entire website that would be up in 72 hours and had 1,100 people working on it 24/7. That’s just a lie,’ the source briefed on the internal conversations told me.”
The NYT has a bigger picture report worth reading, but returns to Kushner: “Mr. Kushner’s early involvement with dealing with the virus was in advising the president that the media’s coverage exaggerated the threat. But when Mr. Pence’s chief of staff asked him to help merge the Pence and Trump communications operations because the two-person shop in the vice president’s office found itself overwhelmed and trying to keep up, Mr. Kushner, long critical of the White House communications shop, tried to supplement the vice president’s team with other aides. One of them was Hope Hicks, the former White House communications director, who recently rejoined the administration as Mr. Kushner’s aide.”