Failson-in-law Jared Kushner is de facto head of the coronavirus response in between other responsibilities bringing peace to the middle ease and getting tenants evicted, which evidently explains a lot:
Jared Kushner, who’s often been in competition with Trump’s chiefs of staff, continues to be the central West Wing player, leading a shadow coronavirus task force that is more powerful than the official group led by Vice President Mike Pence. In conversations Kushner has blamed HHS Secretary Alex Azar for the criticism Trump has received, according to a person in frequent touch with the West Wing. “This was a total mess,” Kushner told people when he got involved last month. “I know how to make this government run now,” he said, according to a source.
The White House downplayed tensions between Kushner and the task force. “The vice president and Jared work so well together because they both view their roles through the lens of what’s best for the American people and how do we best serve the president,” deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said. “The task force has orchestrated a massive historic partnership between the public and private sector, coordinated the federal government’s urgent response, and has unleashed a whole-of-America approach that will save lives.”
In recent days Kushner has advocated for his usual, iconoclastic public-private approach, drawing on business contacts. Last week he called Wall Street executives and asked for advice on how to help New York, people briefed on the conversation said. Kushner encouraged Trump to push back against New York governor Andrew Cuomo after Cuomo gave an emotional press conference during which he said New York was short 30,000 ventilators. In a White House meeting around this time, Kushner told people that Cuomo was being an alarmist. “I have all this data about ICU capacity. I’m doing my own projections, and I’ve gotten a lot smarter about this. New York doesn’t need all the ventilators,” Kushner said, according to a person present. During an interview on Hannityon March 26, Trump said: “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators.”
The source of that information about ventilators cannot be named for security reasons, but his initials are “R. Epstein.” Wait, wait, that’s too obvious — let’s lay “Dick E.”
Speaking of ol’ Dickie 500, 1,941 people have died from COVID-19 related reasons in New York state alone. By the end of the day we will have almost certainly exceeded the arbitrarily revised-based-on-nothing 5,000 number he moved the goalposts to next. He probably had more influence on Kushner and hence on the Trump administration’s critical early reaction than any actual scientist. USA! USA!