In an interview recorded on April 18, Kushner told legendary journalist Bob Woodward that Trump was “bringing the country back from the doctors” into what he called a “bargaining agreement.” Kushner also announced that the United States was rapidly going through the “panic phase” and “pain phase” of the pandemic, and that the country was at the “beginning of the return phase.”
“That doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of pain yet and there won’t be some time, but that was actually it, now we’ve set rules to get back to work,” Kushner said. “Trump is already in charge. They are not the doctors.”
The statement reflects a political strategy. Instead of following the advice of health experts, Trump and Kushner focused on what would help the president on election day. According to their calculations, Trump will be the “open president”
Kushner also ignored party politics, calling the Republican Party a “collection of a bunch of tribes” and describing the GOP platform as “a document designed to anger people in the first place.” Kushner went on to tell Woodward that Trump had carried out a “complete hostile takeover” of the Republican Party when he became a presidential candidate.
He also told Woodward, “The most dangerous people around the president are overconfident idiots,” and that Trump has replaced them with “more careful people who know their place.”
Kushner’s comments on how the administration is dealing with the pandemic underscore the extent to which Trump and Kushner have minimized the public health crisis, even when it erupted last spring.
At that time, the positive cases in the United States were regularly about 30,000 a day. On April 15, three days before Kushner’s interview, Covid-19 deaths peaked at all times – more than 2,600 a day. And hospitalizations for the virus were also at their peak, reaching nearly 60,000 in a few days in April. During this period, New York still bore the brunt of the virus, and deadly waves have not yet swept the South and Midwest.
Kushner’s comments reflect what many health experts say underpins the administration’s misguided approach to the pandemic – a premature push to reopen the country and remove medical professionals, leading to waves of new infections in the summer and record cases this fall.
“It was almost like Trump getting his country back from the doctors. Wasn’t it?” Kushner told Woodward on April 18. “In the sense that what he did now was, you know, he’s going to own the holes.”
The increase in cases was followed by an increase in coronavirus deaths.
This month, 11 countries announced their highest day of new deaths since the start of the pandemic. And although researchers are vying for a vaccine, it will be months before it is expected to be widely available, and health experts have warned that in the meantime, society must take the virus seriously.
“If we continue our current behavior until we start going down the other side of the curve, half a million people will be dead,” CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Rainer said on Tuesday.
Since the beginning of October, 29 states have reported at least one record high day of new cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
To be a “cheerleader” for the economy
Kushner also described Woodward’s political calculations for Woodward – instead of coming up with a federal plan to fight the virus, Trump blamed the governors. In an interview on April 18, Kushner described how he believed Trump was set to reap the political benefits of successfully controlling the virus, while ensuring that state governors, not the president, would be blamed for failing to stop the spread. .
“States need to have the testing,” Kushner said. “The federal government doesn’t have to have testing. And the federal government doesn’t have to have any kind of rules. It has to depend on the governors, because that’s how the federal system works.”
He continued: “But the president is also very smart politically about the way he fought the governors to say basically: no, no, no, no, I’m the owner of the opening. Because again the opening will be very popular. “People want this country to open. But if it opens in the wrong way, the question will be, have the governors followed the instructions we have given or not?”
In a second interview with Woodward on May 8, Kushner insisted that one of Trump’s job to stimulate the economy was to be a cheerleader. Kushner referred to this as a concern for “market psychology.”
“So if you generally say it’s coming back in the fall, don’t prepare, then people won’t get busy, people will lose their jobs,” Kushner told Woodward. turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. One of the things the president is great at is that he’s a cheerleader. He’s trying to make people feel good about the outcome. “
The president himself backed Kushner in a conversation with Woodward about Rage, according to another CNN audio clip, calling it a “smart cookie.”
“I told Jared to talk to you, and I believe he did,” Trump told Woodward on Feb. 19. Trump said he asked Kushner to coordinate with others in the administration “so that Bob can talk to anyone he wants. Jared will handle it – a very capable man, Jared. You can’t make people like this.”
Activists and “overconfident idiots”
In a conversation with Woodward Kushner, he also expressed contempt for the Republican Party and praised his father-in-law’s insurgent control of the GP.
“I say he actually carried out a complete hostile takeover of the Republican Party,” he said on April 18. “And I don’t think it’s even about the problems. I think it’s about the attitude.”
Calling the political parties a “collection of tribes,” Kushner fired GP activists who helped create the party’s platform for political ideas and aspirations, out of touch with regular voters.
“Did you know that parties, as they grow, are usually exceptional rather than inclusive,” Kushner said. “So, you know, look at the Republican Party platform, it’s a document designed to anger people basically. Because it’s done by activists.”
Months later, during its national convention, the Republican Party refused to update its platform and instead chose to re-adopt the 2016 platform.
Kushner’s disregard also extends to those administration officials and advisers who have disappointed the president earlier in his term – the people Kushner describes as “overconfident idiots.”
“We got rid of a lot of confident idiots,” he told Woodward. “And now he has a lot more careful people who somehow know the place and know what to do.”
In Rage, Woodward writes that he believes Kushner is referring to former cabinet members and advisers James Mathis, Rex Tillerson and Gary Cohn. In a September interview with NBC’s Today, Kushner said that Woodward had “mischaracterized” him and denied calling the three men “overconfident idiots.”