Amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, there’s been a familiar story out of the White House — sky-high promises with few if any results to back them up. Trump son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner initially launched what was at least supposed to be a task force in the administration that coordinated crucial issues like the distribution of medical supplies to localities that need them. But now, officials in the administration say it’s unclear what Kushner has actually successfully accomplished. One current administration official mocked Kushner to the Daily Beast, describing him as essentially an incompetent buffoon.
‘One official working in the White House said it was “unclear” exactly what he and his team had actually done over the last two weeks. Another individual familiar with Kushner’s work said they hadn’t received updates from his team in “about a week.”’
Weeks-long delays in getting basic answers to the people who need them are not exactly helpful amidst a pandemic. Besides his other supposed roles, Kushner is a member of the White House’s task force on reopening the economy after Coronavirus-induced social distancing measures. In order to safely lift those measures and get business rolling again while averting the potential for another virus outbreak that simply cripples the economy yet again, a rigorous large-scale Coronavirus testing system needs to be in place so that public health authorities can track and work to contain the spread of the virus. On paper at least, Kushner is supposed to be assisting in addressing these issues — but he’s not, apparently.
A senior administration official who currently works on the White House’s Coronavirus response told the Daily Beast:
‘[Jared] could be in his office just googling ‘coronavirus,’ show the results to the president, and still get a gold sticker from his dad-in-law. He is solving the coronavirus like he’s bringing peace to the [Middle East].’
The development of a peace plan for the Israel-Palestine conflict is one of the many tasks that have gotten shoved off into Kushner’s responsibility list in the White House. Kushner has completely failed to develop any progress on resolving that conflict. It’s a brutal assessment to compare his Coronavirus work to simply Googling the illness and showing Trump a list of search results — but it fits with the failures to avoid large-scale supply shortages that could cripple Coronavirus response efforts.
Juliette Kayyem, a former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, commented:
‘[Kushner] muddied up a process that was really not needing a fix. What that does is disempower FEMA because if at any moment Jared or one of his henchmen demand assets to be redistributed at their discretion, FEMA’s planning gets disrupted. I’ve never seen operations on something this scale being run out of the White House. Usually it’s policy and communications that they handle… but you would never run logistical operations out of the White House.’
And that’s led to some… interesting encounters. At one point, Kushner reached out for tips from Dr. Kurt Kloss, the father of his sister-in-law, the model Karlie Kloss. The doctor posted a request on Facebook for input on his reply, and “The story, first reported by The Spectator, invited scorn and ridicule—not just online but in the White House as well,” the Daily Beast reports.
Kushner’s other “highlights” include an insistence during a rare public appearance at a White House press conference that the federal government’s resources should only be something like a last resort for states. What on earth are the federal government’s resources there for if not to support states in times of crisis? Following his fumblings, it sounds like Kushner is simply stepping back.