Mandatory Credit: Photo by Alex Brandon/AP/Shutterstock (10975052d) White House senior adviser Jared Kushner walks back to the West Wing after a television interview at the White House, in Washington Trump, Washington, United States – 26 Oct 2020
Jared Kushner, who seems adamant on beating a dead horse (the horse being his failed response to the COVID-19 pandemic), is once-again proving how wholly unqualified he is for his job. Despite the obvious nepotism that afforded him the title of senior advisor to the president, Kushner was also, for some reason, put in charge of the COVID-19 task force — despite having no medical training or expertise. And in true Trumpian fashion, he’s failed nearly every step of the way. But new audio tapes from interviews between Kushner and Bob Woodward are providing an even more damning portrait of those failings.
In the tapes, it is revealed that Kushner was actively hostile to and openly disregarding the advice of doctors when it came to how to handle the pandemic, which has so far claimed the lives of over a quarter of a million Americans. And his ultimate goal was for the Trump administration to get “the country back from the doctors.”
Kushner — a real estate executive who has handed the reins on the country’s largest public health crisis in a century— shamelessly tells Woodward about his efforts to wrest control of the response from the hands of the doctors who were advising him. In the April interview which was acquired by CNN, Kushner describes three phases of the pandemic, which was at that point still hammering New York City: “the panic phase, the pain phase and then the comeback phase.”
After Trump’s reopening plan was announced, Kushner told Woodward it was “the beginning of the comeback phase” which “doesn’t mean there’s not still a lot of pain and there won’t be pain for a while, but that basically was, we’ve now put out rules to get back to work. Trump’s now back in charge. It’s not the doctors.” It was then when Kushner referred to the guidelines for reopening the country’s economy as “Trump getting the country back from the doctors” so he could “own the open-up.”
At the time Kushner did the interview, 40,000 people had already died from the virus. But this is only further evidence that the Trump administration is working in denial of our current health crisis. On Wednesday, while the U.S. was setting single-day records for new virus cases, the White House sent a news release declaring “ending” COVID-19 as one of the successes of the administration. In July, Kushner’s national testing plan was scrapped because the administration worried that more testing would lead to more cases, which would look bad for Trump and his reelection bid. The task force he was running was criticized for having no coherent strategy or national scalability, let alone direction from medical professionals.
These new tapes don’t reveal anything we didn’t already know about the Trump administration: from the beginning, they have cared more about their own optics in handling the pandemic than they cared about the lives of the American citizens they were supposed to protect. Their coronavirus response was not botched because they are inept — it was intentionally botched because they didn’t care enough to listen to the experts. Kushner admitted as much, and now we can hear the words directly from his mouth.
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