As Donald Trump made abundantly clear last week, by just coming out and saying it, he doesn’t take “any responsibility at all” for the federal government’s horribly botched response to the coronavirus. Of course, as president of the United States, he bears full responsibility, and for the most part, really has only himself to blame for a spiraling crisis that has killed 88 Americans so far. Still, there are definitely a few individuals along the way who deserve some subsidiary blame for the situation the country currently finds itself in. For instance, the aides too scared to tell him the things he didn’t want to hear. Also: his idiot son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
We already knew that Kushner—who has no expertise in anything, save for wildly overestimating his capabilities and his work as a slumlord—believes the deadly pandemic is “more about public psychology than a health reality.” But according to the New York Times, he also advised Trump, in the early days of the catastrophe, that their favorite punching bag was basically making the whole thing up:
Mr. Kushner’s early involvement with dealing with the virus was in advising the president that the media’s coverage exaggerated the threat.
While Trump has never needed an excuse to attack the media, Kushner’s goading presumably helped inspire at least some of the more ridiculous statements emanating from the Oval Office, among them:
Also obviously unhelpful was Kushner’s decision to “take on a more expansive role for himself despite his lack of knowledge on the topic,” which has never stopped him before, and his decision to do so “without talking to most of the task force members or public health experts.“ (On the other hand, he did consult model Karlie Kloss’s father.) According to the Times, it was Kushner who pushed Trump to ban travel from much of Europe, which led to thousands of people being crammed together in U.S. airports over the weekend, presumably spreading at least a few cases of COVID-19 among them. And it was under Kushner’s guiding hand that the president delivered one debacle of a press address after the next last week:
...after Mr. Trump delivered an error-ridden Oval Office address last week, the president followed it with an appearance Friday in the Rose Garden in which he said Google had developed a coronavirus testing website that did not exist. Mr. Kushner was deeply involved in both efforts, and had sold his father-in-law on the website as a smart concept.
According to my colleague Gabe Sherman, Trump now “regret[s] that Kushner swooped in to the coronavirus response last week,” particularly given that he reportedly “encouraged” his father-in-law “to treat the emergency as a P.R. problem,” which in retrospect, wasn’t his best idea. In fact, it probably ranks somewhere around paying more than $1 billion to buy a decrepit tower on the eve of the financial crisis and trying to get Palestinians to sign on to his peace plan by calling them morons.
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Area sociopath claims he knew all along virus would be a pandemic
Yes, the one he downplayed for months and only just yesterday admitted is looking pretty “bad.”
Remember when Trump said he didn’t know anything about the administration cutting the White House pandemic office?
A video has emerged of Donald Trump talking about cutting the U.S. pandemic response team in 2018—days after claiming that he knew nothing about the disbanded White House unit. Mr. Trump said of the pandemic team that “some of the people we’ve cut they haven’t been used for many, many years and if we ever need them we can get them very quickly and rather then spending the money.”
A former director of the unit, Dr. Beth Cameron, used an op-ed in the Washington Post to say that “it is clear that eliminating the office has contributed to the federal government’s sluggish domestic response.” In a press conference on Friday, Mr. Trump denied knowing anything about the cuts in 2018 when questioned by Yamiche Alcindor, a reporter for PBS.
“I’m a business person, I don’t like having thousands of people around when you don’t need them,” Trump said in the 2018 clip.
Marie Antoinette Trump has some suggestions for weathering the quarantine
For when your nannies are on their break:
Before Trump’s inauguration, a warning: “The worst influenza pandemic since 1918” (Politico)
Dow surges 1,049 points on stimulus moves after worst day since 1987 (NYP)
Gundlach says it’s “ludicrous” to think U.S. won’t enter a recession as coronavirus hits economy (CNBC)
Business Schools Are Offering One-Year MBAs for Those in a Rush (Bloomberg)
Ex-congressman Duncan Hunter sentenced to 11 months in prison (Washington Post)
As city institutions shutter amid coronavirus, alternate side parking remains in effect (Politico)
Ultra-Rich Families Poised for Spending Splurge After Stock Rout (Bloomberg)
Man runs toilet paper exchange on California street corner (AP)
— How coronavirus is creating a fake-news nightmarescape
— Why do Dubai’s princesses keep trying to escape?
— Is Karen Pence’s transformation a play for 2024?
— A Nassim Taleb protégé has tips on how to prepare for the coming market crash
— Health officials and scientists are now banned from speaking about coronavirus
— This is how Matt Gaetz became Trump’s ultimate protégé
— From the Archive: Inside Stephen Glass’s web of deception that emerged as the most sustained fraud in modern journalism
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