The extraordinary role of Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as a key figure in the Coronavirus Administration Task Force, has puzzled some officials who see a non-health expert exercising authority.
Kushner has brought in old associates and friends as he attempts to short-circuit procedures for bringing medical supplies to states and localities. He criticized the White House podium for who makes a “competent manager”. And he played a role in one of the central issues of vital medical equipment: who should have priority access to valuable ventilators.
A senior administration official involved in meetings on the coronavirus epidemic told the New York Times Kushner team that it was like a “frat party” coming from a U.F.O. and invaded the federal government.
From the White House, you can get around a lot faster, ”he said. “I put my team members in many components. What we were able to do was get very quick responses from people. “
White House senior advisor Jared Kushner spoke to governors while pushing for medical equipment during an appearance in the White House briefing room. Anonymous public servant described team as “fraternal celebration” after UFO
The numbers that Kushner implied to speed up equipment requests include friends and associates of his time as a senior assistant at the White House and as a player in New York real estate. They include Kushner’s former roommate, Adam Boehler, the head of an international financial agency, and Brad Smith, who runs an innovation center at the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services. According to his CMS biography, Harvard grad Smith “was the co-founder and CEO of Aspire Health, of which he became an idea by becoming the country’s largest palliative home care provider operating in 25 states and over 70 cities” . The newspaper also identified software entrepreneur Nat Turner as part of Kushner’s improvised team.
Kushner’s effort comes as the country’s governors have begged public and private medical supplies while some hospitals are starting to be overloaded with patients.
He intervened when the coronavirus epidemic struck near his home, New York and New Jersey having seen an increase in cases, even as his stepfather provided conflicting information on whether the situation is contained or disastrous and sunny statements about having enough equipment available and threats to use government to force manufacturers to get more.
Jared Kushner has worked to speed up requests for equipment – but some officials have grumbled about his role adding another layer of confusion
White House Adviser Jared Kushner Attends Teleconference With Governors At Federal Emergency Management Agency Headquarters Left to Right, President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Acting Secretary of Security Interior Chad Wolf, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx and Admiral Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary of Health and Kushner March 19, 2020 in Washington, DC
Kushner has played a leading role in many areas, including a Middle East peace proposal
Kushner spoke Thursday of getting medical supplies from the White House
An official compared Kushner’s team to a “frat praty”
Kushner gave a window on the type of missions he performs at the White House on Thursday.
“I got a call from the president, he said he heard from his friends in New York that New York’s public hospital system was short of essential supplies,” Kushner told reporters while the president watched.
He said he had made a series of calls to officials and said the result was that the administration ” send a month of refueling.
“We will do similar things with all the different public hospitals that are in sensitive areas,” he said.
As states desperately vie for medical supplies and argue for supplies – Washington, D.C. said there were no fans in the stock – Kushner said Thursday: “The notion of federal stock was supposed to be our stock. They are not supposed to be state stocks that they use next.
He also gave talks to the governors, explaining that some people are asking for the precious equipment without even knowing how many machines they have on hand.
He said governors should know “the number of fans they have in their condition because that is the first thing a good manager will do.”
“You have to do the inventory in your state, and you have to be able to prove that there is a real need,” said Kushner.
“This is a time of crisis, and you see that some people are better managers than others,” said Kushner.
The chairman of the House’s internal security committee, Representative Benny Thompson – who is calling for a special commission to investigate the response of the coronavirus – has publicly criticized Kushner’s role.
“FEMA has been involved in the response to provide logistical support and the White House should let them do their work. There is no reason why Jared or any inexperienced person should object to this, “he told The Times.