Apparently, even as the public-facing Coronavirus response task force in the Trump administration features the work of leading public health specialists like Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, a separate internal team at the White House has formed to weigh in on Coronavirus responses. It’s led by — wait for it — Jared Kushner, the president’s completely inexperienced son-in-law who’s taken on an almost comically, outlandishly large portfolio of responsibilities while in the White House. He’s not exactly racked up some kind of great record while in the White House, so it’s all been in the name of… what exactly? Trump’s personal favoritism? Now, lives are on the line.
According to a new report from POLITICO, Kushner has even taken over decision-making to the point of sporting broader authority than Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, who’s at least tried to look like he knew what he was doing. Kushner’s team and the private companies that they’re working with apparently have little to no oversight at this point, suggesting that all manner of conflicts of interest could be weighing on the business side of the federal government’s resource strategizing amidst the Coronavirus crisis.
As POLITICO put it:
‘People around Kushner are fielding all manner of outside pitches, making it difficult for the group to stay focused. And there is limited vetting of private companies and executives’ financial interests, raising questions about the motivations and potential conflicts inherent in an operation that relies on an ill-defined and ever-expanding group of outside contributors.’
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) spokesperson Jordan Libowitz commented:
‘They’re not necessarily doing something nefarious, but if they were, this is what they would do to hide it.’
Reportedly, they’re at least heading down the road towards “nefarious” schemes, because the POLITICO piece claims that it’s Jared Kushner who claimed to Trump that New York was overstating its need for ventilators. Kushner has no medical experience — obviously — and yet, he’s working to supersede those who’ve actually worked in public health without their family connections giving them a golden carpet to get to the job. Dr. Fauci, for instance, has said that he believes New York Governor Andrew Cuomo when he says the state seems to need tens of thousands of ventilators.
But Trump — at Kushner’s urging, apparently — has turned the question of getting states the resources that they need into a political spectacle.
On Thursday, he tweeted:
‘Massive amounts of medical supplies, even hospitals and medical centers, are being delivered directly to states and hospitals by the Federal Government. Some have insatiable appetites & are never satisfied (politics?)… The complainers should have been stocked up and ready long before this crisis hit.’
….have been stocked up and ready long before this crisis hit. Other states are thrilled with the job we have done. Sending many Ventilators today, with thousands being built. 51 large cargo planes coming in with medical supplies. Prefer sending directly to hospitals.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 2, 2020
Is Donald Trump aware that he’s the president of the United States, or does he think that this is all some game? He’s the one who was supposed to stock up! He’s the one who got briefings about the severity of the incoming Coronavirus crisis and then publicly proclaimed that actually, the Coronavirus concern was all a hoax. Surprise: it’s not and it never has been, and now the U.S. death toll has soared past 5,300 and counting as of early Thursday.