The Boy Prince of New Jersey is still running Peace in the Middle East, Reinventing the Gubmint, fighting the opioid epidemic and now he has some sort of unofficial COVID-19 Task Force, too, and has accumulated more clout than Health Secretary Alan Azar. Who knew sleeping with The First Shady, Ivanka, was such a career move?
His task force consists entirely of private sector individuals: McKinsey consultants, former college roommates and their parents’ Facebook Friends (I’m not kidding):
But wait, there’s more. It turns out that Jared is as good at handling a pandemic as he is at Middle East peace. First, he asked his brother’s wife’s dad for advice on handling the outbreak. Dr Kurt Kloss (father of model Karlie) wrote on Facebook, “If you were in charge of Federal response to the Pandemic what would your recommendation be. Please only serious responses. I have direct channel to person now in charge at White House and have been asked for recommendations.” I mean it makes sense, since he’s a doctor and Facebook is a highly regarded and peer-reviewed medical journal.
…the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which has already warned that Kushner’s operation could violate federal recordkeeping laws, blasted the White House for its extensive reliance on the private sector and lack of transparency.
“They’re not necessarily doing something nefarious, but if they were, this is what they would do to hide it,” CREW spokesperson Jordan Libowitz said….
“I don’t know how our government operates anymore,” said one Republican close to the administration, lamenting that the sudden authority granted to non-governmental actors had left them with their “eyebrow raised unbelievably high.”
How’s the Private Sector like working with Fratsputin?
Kushner’s team was involved in difficult negotiations with General Motors and ventilator company Ventec over expediting ventilator production, and when the deal initially fell through, Trump lashed out at GM on Twitter. Other corporate executives were dissuaded from participating in the coronavirus response after seeing Trump’s angry reaction, The New York Times reported.
Then Tiger Beat’s morning email thingie tells us:
“The notion of the federal stockpile was it’s supposed to be our stockpile. It’s not supposed to be states’ stockpiles that they then use. So we’re encouraging the states to make sure that they’re assessing the needs, they’re getting the data from their local situations and then trying to fill it with the supplies that we’ve given them.” THE REALITY: The Strategic National Stockpile website: “When state, local, tribal, and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts, the stockpile ensures that the right medicines and supplies get to those who need them most during an emergency.”
Jared Kushner Is Going to Get Us All Killed
Reporting on the White House’s herky-jerky coronavirus response, Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman has a quotation from Jared Kushner that should make all Americans, and particularly all New Yorkers, dizzy with terror.
According to Sherman, when New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, said that the state would need 30,000 ventilators at the apex of the coronavirus outbreak, Kushner decided that Cuomo was being alarmist. “I have all this data about I.C.U. capacity,” Kushner reportedly said. “I’m doing my own projections, and I’ve gotten a lot smarter about this. New York doesn’t need all the ventilators.” (Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top expert on infectious diseases, has said he trusts Cuomo’s estimate.)
Even now, it’s hard to believe that someone with as little expertise as Kushner could be so arrogant, but he said something similar on Thursday, when he made his debut at the White House’s daily coronavirus briefing: “People who have requests for different products and supplies, a lot of them are doing it based on projections which are not the realistic projections.”
“At one of the most perilous moments in modern American history, Mr. Kushner is trying in a disjointed White House to marshal the forces of government for the war his father-in-law says he is waging. A real estate developer with none of the medical expertise of a public health official nor the mobilization experience of a general, Mr. Kushner has nonetheless become a key player in the response to the pandemic. …
“Some officials said Mr. Kushner had mainly added another layer of confusion to that response, while taking credit for changes already in progress and failing to deliver on promised improvements. He promoted a nationwide screening website and a widespread network of drive-through testing sites. Neither materialized.
“He claimed to have helped narrow the rift between his father-in-law and General Motors in a presidential blowup over ventilator production, one administration official said, but the White House is still struggling to procure enough ventilators and other medical equipment.”
So, you know, everything is going about as well as expected.