By any reasonable measurement, the Trump administration’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic has failed. As of this Friday, some 200,000 Americans have died, and the share of global Coronavirus deaths that are connected to the United States far outpaces its share of the global population. At the helm of the White House’s failures has been Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and top adviser who, like Donald himself, had no experience in government prior to assuming his current position. According to a new report from reporter Katherine Eban for Vanity Fair, at a March 21 meeting — as the pandemic really first began to rage in the United States — Kushner dismissed imminent suffering and death in New York as “their problem.”
The meeting at which Kushner made that remark was attended by “a small group of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, business executives, and venture capitalists,” according to Eban. The private sector folks had come to try and coordinate with the federal government in the development of their response to the Coronavirus pandemic. These private sector representatives “secured commitments from dozens of major corporations, including General Motors, to manufacture ventilators, map supply needs, create a system for contact tracing, and much more,” Eban reports. Instead of leaping at the opportunity to help protect the American people, Kushner apparently didn’t want anything to do with it.
One of the premises of the private sector representatives’ meeting with Kushner was advocacy for the invocation of the Defense Production Act. They wanted the government to use the legislation to direct the production of potentially lifesaving supplies. According to Eban — who says that her direct quotes are constructed on the basis of “the recollections of one or more individual attendees” — Kushner said:
‘The federal government is not going to lead this response. It’s up to the states to figure out what they want to do… Free markets will solve this. That is not the role of government.’
After an attendee pointed out New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s public plea for supplies, Kushner added:
‘Cuomo didn’t pound the phones hard enough to get [personal protective equipment] for his state…. His people are going to suffer and that’s their problem.’
What is the purpose of federal resources if not to help Americans not die during a monumental crisis during the Coronavirus pandemic?
Kushner stuck to his self-important ideology, and Americans died and are still dying, with little hope for curtailing the spread of the virus at this point beyond a sudden and very widespread usage of face masks, which the Trump administration itself won’t even push for.
The White House has already denied the Vanity Fair report — but it squares up quite closely with what President Trump himself has recently stated publicly!
Just this week, he’s been going on about how, supposedly, removing the “blue” states from the equation would put the United States on much better ground than it is currently. Those “blue” states have high populations of Americans — including plenty of Republican Party supporters! — and the president and his allies are supposed to serve America as a whole. Why does this task seem so hard for them? Trump and his co-conspirators, like Kushner, spend so much time on political pandering.