Jared Kushner resisted taking a role in fighting the coronavirus pandemic from the very beginning, according to a new report about the White House response.
A bipartisan group of heavy hitters and business leaders met March 20 at the Federal Emergency Management Agency to discuss how to make and distribute personal protective equipment, and certain government officials urged them to return the next day to meet with President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser, reported Vanity Fair.
“The federal government is not going to lead this response,” Kushner told the group at the start of the meeting, seated in a chair taller than the others around the conference table. “It’s up to the states to figure out what they want to do.”
Kushner had formed a “shadow task force” that ran parallel to one led by Vice President Mike Pence, and private sector representatives had pledged to produce PPEs if the federal government promised to buy them, and they wanted the president to invoke the Defense Production Act to make that happen quickly.
“We were all saying, ‘Mr. Kushner, if you want to fix this problem for PPE and ventilators, there’s a path to do it, but you have to make a policy change,’” recalled one person who attended the meeting.
Kushner got “very aggressive” and insisted they didn’t understand how government worked as well as he did, although that attendee said his arguments “made no sense.”
“It felt like Kushner was the president,” that person said. “He sat in the chair and he was clearly making the decisions.”
One attendee told Kushner that Americans were bidding against each other for the limited supply of PPE, and that person explained that businesses that wanted to help were looking for leadership from the federal government.
“Free markets will solve this,” Kushner replied. “That is not the role of government.”
That same person agreed that open markets could solve many problems, but he said the system was breaking under the crisis, pointing to a CNN report about New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desperation for supplies.
“That’s the CNN bullsh*t,” Kushner told that person. “They lie.”
Another attendee said that prompted a rant by Kushner against the Democratic governor.
“Cuomo didn’t pound the phones hard enough to get PPE for his state,” Kushner said. “His people are going to suffer and that’s their problem.”
Other attendees were shocked and alarmed.
“That’s when I was like, we’re screwed,” an attendee said.
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‘How Orwellian’: Top Florida Paper Pounds ‘Do-Nothing DeSantis’ as a ‘Fraud’ and a ‘Phony’
The Editorial Board of one of Florida’s top newspapers is criticizing Republican Governor Ron DeSantis as a “fraud” and a “phony” for his horrific handling of the Sunshine State’s COVID crisis, and then taking a “victory lap” for one week of improved results after “Florida’s summer of suffering.”
“Florida led the nation in case rates for much of the summer, and our governor was silent. Well, not totally silent. He did rail against mask and vaccine mandates, measures intended to prevent people from falling ill,” the Orlando Sentinel’s Editorial Board writes. “Now, a governor whose sole contribution to fighting the outbreak was to expand antibody treatments for people after they got infected is taking full credit for the decline in cases.”
“What a fraud. What a phony,” they declare, chastising the governor with White House wishes for having “the gall, the nerve, to take a victory lap.”
The paper notes that from July to October approximately 21,000 Floridians died from COVID. (The total number of Florida COVID deaths is 59,495.)
“Compare that to California, a warm-weather state with nearly twice the population of Florida and a governor who believes in public health. California had just 8,600 deaths during that same summer surge, according to Johns Hopkins,” they note.
DeSantis “could have made another major push for Floridians to get vaccinated. But he didn’t, possibly because his Republican Party is rapidly aligning itself with the anti-vaxxer movement,” the writer, adding that he chose “to make masks a cultural wedge issue” by banning any local mandates.
“And now, the do-nothing governor is trying to claim credit for this surge coming to an end,” the editors lament. “It is DeSantis’ final and most essential command — to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. How Orwellian.”
Four School Teachers in One Florida County Die in One Day From COVID as DeSantis Continues to Ban Mask Mandates
Four school teachers in Broward County, Florida just died from COVID-19 in one day. Three were unvaccinated, CNN reports (video below.)
Republican Governor Ron DeSantis continues to refuse to allow any mask or vaccine mandates as coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths explode in his state.
“Within a 24-hour span, we had an assistant teacher pass away, a teacher at her school pass away, an elementary teacher pass away and another teacher at a high school,” Broward Teachers Union President Anna Fusco told CBS News.
Broward County’s School Board this week voted to defy DeSantis’ ban on masks mandates.
Florida recorded 24,869 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, far more than any state in the nation. Less than half of Florida’s total population is fully vaccinated.
357 people in Florida died from coronavirus yesterday, per data from The New York Times.
BREAKING: WFOR is reporting that 4 teachers from Broward county have died of covid in a single day.
Three were unvaccinated. We don’t know the status of the 4th. pic.twitter.com/uT4XW7irc5
— Brianna Keilar (@brikeilarcnn) August 13, 2021
‘Yippee!!!’ Emails Show Trump Officials Celebrating After CDC Caved to Demands to Downplay COVID Risks
Newly released emails show that Trump administration officials openly celebrated after they successfully meddled to get the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to downplay the risks of the novel coronavirus.
The Washington Post reports that former Trump science adviser Paul Alexander wrote an email to then-HHS public affairs chief Michael Caputo in which he boasted about getting the CDC to back off language in two different reports that he believed painted too dire of a picture of the COVID-19 crisis.
“Pointing to one change — where CDC leaders allegedly changed the opening sentence of a report about spread of the virus among younger people after Alexander pressured them — Alexander wrote to Caputo, calling it a ‘small victory but a victory nonetheless and yippee!!!'” the Post reports.
Alexander also told Caputo about how he teamed up with Trump adviser Dr. Scott Atlas to alter a CDC weekly report on coronavirus-related deaths among young Americans.
The emails also show Alexander and Caputo wanted to cook up numbers on the alleged spike in suicides that were occurring during the pandemic, despite the fact that the number of suicides in the United States in 2020 actually fell by 6 percent.
“We need solid estimates to be able to say something like: 50,000 more cancer deaths! 40,000 more heart attacks! 25,000 more suicides!” Caputo wrote.
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