At Thursday's White House press briefing on the coronavirus outbreak, presidential son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner appeared at the podium for the first time during the crisis, notes Forbes. Among other things, Kushner said he was taking control of the White House effort to make sure states received masks, ventilators, and other medical equipment. (He generated controversy with his description of the national stockpile's role in the crisis.) Expect to hear much more from or about Kushner, because a flurry of new stories makes clear that he has taken on a major role in leading the White House response, though not everybody is happy about that. Coverage:
- The role: Politico reports that over the last two-plus weeks, Kushner "has emerged as perhaps the most pivotal figure in the national fight against the fast-growing pandemic." If VP Mike Pence is leading an "all-of-government" task force, Kushner is leading more of an "all-of-private-sector" outfit. Among other things, Kushner's team is "working alongside government officials from FEMA, HHS, and USAID to solve a range of logistical and technical challenges" and "has stepped in to coordinate decision-making at agencies including the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services," per Politico.
- Problems: The story hits on some potential problems, including the duplication of efforts within federal agencies, some apparent confusion about who is in charge, and business-related conflicts of interest. "I don't know how our government operates anymore," one Republican close to the administration tells Politico.