Jared Kushner's role in helping shape the US response to the coronavirus came under increased scrutiny Wednesday with a spate of new stories. The presidential son-in-law, though, won't be pleased. The New York Times and the Washington Post have stories with a similar theme: They assert that an inexperienced team led by Kushner botched the effort to secure protective medical equipment such as masks and gloves. Both stories cite a complaint written by one of Kushner's volunteers that has been filed with the House Oversight Committee.
- The Post: Jared's team "relied in part on volunteers from consulting and private equity firms with little expertise in the tasks they were assigned, exacerbating chronic problems in obtaining supplies for hospitals and other needs, according to numerous government officials and a volunteer involved in the effort."
- The Times: These volunteers "had little to no experience with government procurement procedures or medical equipment. But as part of Mr. Kushner's governmentwide push to secure protective gear for the nation's doctors and nurses, the volunteers were put in charge of sifting through more than a thousand incoming leads, and told to pass only the best ones on for further review by FEMA officials." The story says they were told to prioritize tips from Trump supporters, which led to promising avenues being ignored.
- Vaccine: Meanwhile, the Daily Beast reports that Kushner also is playing a key role in Operation Warp Speed, the White House effort to have a vaccine by the end of the year. His focus is on using his ties to the private sector to speed up the process. "Jared has been vocal in meetings about wanting to engage the private sector on the development of a vaccine in a similarly successful way that the administration did on ventilators, PPE, and others," says a White House official. The DB is skeptical, suggesting that "the Trump administration may once again find itself in a place where it is overpromising the public in its fight against the coronavirus."
(Read more Jared Kushner