Jared Kushner and his former roommate are now central to Donald Trump’s response to the corona virus
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner has assembled a group of private sector friends, including his former roommate, to help the government respond to the corona virus.
But his move caused tension and confusion among officials who are not sure exactly what role Kushner’s “shadow” response team plays and how it fits the official task force led by Vice President Mike Pence.
Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, was not a public face of the response. But while not on stage during one of the White House’s daily briefings, he has become a power player behind the scenes in the fight against the virus.
His team includes many McKinsey consultants plus his former roommate and current US Tsar Adam Boehler, and Brad Smith, the head of Medicare’s innovation center.
White House senior advisor Jared Kushner has assembled a group of private sector friends to respond to the corona virus
Kushner’s group includes his former roommate, the Tsar of U.S. Foreign Investment, Adam Boehler
Jared Kushner had his own brush with the coronavirus when his wife Ivanka Trump had to be tested after meeting an Australian official who later tested positive for the disease
Despite the confusion, officials have described a distinction in operations. Kushner’s group leads the ‘all-of-private’ sector response, while Pence leads the ‘all-of-government’ effort, as sources describe Politically.
President Trump originally asked for Kushner’s participation, a senior official told DailyMail.com earlier this month.
“The president asked Jared to join and he does,” the person said.
At the time, the Trump administration was struggling to catch up in its response to the pandemic, making sure there were enough tests available to detect the disease.
The official described DailyMail.com an effort of all hands on deck by Kushner’s office that consisted of round-the-clock work from his team, including Hope Hicks, the former communications director who returned to the administration.
Kushner has been spotted leaving his Washington, D.C. home early – around 7:30 AM most mornings – to go to his West Wing office just down the hall from the Oval Office.
His presence has been seen and felt. He is in White House meetings with private sector officials about the response to the virus, took part in President Trump’s appeal with governors at FEMA, and was with the President on Capitol Hill when Trump went there to rally Republicans around an aid package.
Kushner had his own brush with the coronavirus when his wife Ivanka Trump had to be tested after meeting an Australian official who later tested positive for the disease. Ivanka Trump’s test result was negative.
But Kushner’s involvement in the response effort has also led to criticism.
The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington – a government watchdog group – Kushner noticed Shadow Coronavirus Task Force for violating Presidential Archives Law by using private email in place of their government accounts, automatically registering correspondence.
That “leaves the public in the dark about the work the shadow task force has done and the influence of private industries on the government’s response to the corona virus pandemic,” the group said.
His group has also duplicated existing efforts and teams, Politically reported after talking to several officials involved in the response, and the focus on quick, short-term decisions has raised concerns with some health authorities.
An official told The Washington Post earlier this month that they are receiving emails from private sector employees on Kushner’s team, but have no idea what role these people are playing.
“We don’t know who these people are,” said a senior official. ‘Who is this? We all get these emails. ‘
There has been concern about a lack of coordination – causing confusion about who does what – and there has been limited control over the private sector officials involved, raising questions about potential conflicts of interest.
Jared Kushner has been spotted leaving his Washington, D.C. home early – around 7:30 a.m. most mornings – to go to his West Wing office
Jared Kushner attends a teleconference with governors at the Federal Emergency Management Agency on March 19
An official told Politico that proper ethical precautions are being taken.
“There are two rules: people have signed volunteer contracts that have been vetted by professional legal professionals – and no one is doing tenders except government officials,” the senior official said.
There’s also the usual bickering over whose territory it has been since Kushner’s group got involved in all areas of the government’s response, including Health and Human Services and FEMA.
And he has had his mistakes. Kushner helped write the Oval Office address the President gave earlier this month – a speech that was widespread and saw the stock tank the following morning.
Criticism has been muted, but Kushner is seen by many officials as “untouchable” within the administration given his proximity to the President, whom he speaks to many times a day.
Both Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump have frustrated frustrated chiefs of staff who have tried to impose the unruly White House order when they leave the chain of command by simply walking into the Oval Office to speak to the President.
A senior official told DailyMail.com that the Kushner and Pence teams are working together, describing Kushner’s group as working to support government agencies in their work.
White House adviser Jared Kushner listens as President Donald Trump talks to reporters on Capitol Hill on March 10
Jared Kushner attends a meeting with President Donald Trump and several CEOs of major banks to discuss the coronavirus response in the White House cabinet on March 11
Jared Kushner and wife Ivanka Trump, seen with President Trump and first lady Melania Trump at a Hanukkah reception in December, are considered untouchable in the White House
Kushner also has his supporters, who say that the presidential son-in-law has filled in gaps in moving supplies and helped arrange flights to bring in medical supplies from abroad instead of the usual method of using ships.
And Kushner himself defended his work The Washington Post earlier this month.
“We get things done at record speeds and do everything we can to prevent damage and mitigate the negative consequences,” he told the newspaper. “In America, some of our best resources are in our private sector. The federal government is not designed to solve all of our problems; many of the muscles are in the private sector and there are also many smart people. ‘