Jared Kushner is the fall guy once again, and it looks like this time, he may not deserve it completely. While Kushner is regularly unethical and deeply immoral, he surely doesn’t deserve the blame for Trump’s decision to downplay the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak weeks ago.
Trump is being criticized after Reuters ran a story about Trump purposely keeping the outbreak under wraps and avoiding preparations for the outcome because it would be considered bad optics for his 2020 reelection campaign.
Now, Trump is reportedly blaming Kushner for that decision, according to Vanity Fair:
With the markets in free fall despite emergency action by the Fed over the weekend, Trump is waking up to the reality that’s been clear to everyone: Coronavirus poses a once-in-a-hundred-years threat to the country. “In the last 48 hours he has understood the magnitude of what’s going on,” a former West Wing official told me. As Trump processes the stakes facing the country—and his presidency—he’s also lashing out at advisers, whom he blames for the White House’s inept and flat-footed response. Sources say a principal target of his anger is Jared Kushner. “I have never heard so many people inside the White House openly discussed how pissed Trump is at Jared,” the former West Wing official said.
This is just like Trump to hire people unfit for the job at hand, then throw them under the bus when they don’t perform to the public’s expectation. Kushner has to be sick of being Trump’s scapegoat, but he quietly relents, take the abuse as it comes and thanking god he gets to benefit from it.
The report continues:
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.
One reason the president’s attitude may be changing is that coronavirus showed up at his doorstep, literally: Mar-a-Lago is now a hot spot. Last weekend, Trump interacted with a Brazilian government official who tested positive for COVID-19. The appearance of coronavirus inside the president’s bubble jolted the president’s inner circle that up until that point treated the virus more like a Democratic plot. With coronavirus lurking on the property, about a hundred guests sipped cocktails by the pool at a 50th birthday party for Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend, former Fox News personality Kimberly Guilfoyle. RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel announced after attending the party that she was self-quarantining after experiencing flu-like symptoms. Another turning point was an intervention by Guilfoyle’s former colleague Tucker Carlson. A source who attended the party told me Carlson went to Mar-a-Lago to confront Trump directly about his failure to take the virus seriously.