Trump Waiting on Public-Health Expert Jared Kushner Before Deciding on Coronavirus Emergency: Report
By Matt Stieb
Amid bringing peace to the Middle East, guiding the construction of the border wall, and ending America’s ongoing opioid crisis, Jared Kushner is now facing yet another task that should be delegated to an entire government agency, rather than to the president’s son-in-law. According to Politico, President Trump is delaying his decision on whether or not to declare a national emergency to combat the spread of the coronavirus on the expert public-health opinion of fellow real-estate developer and fortunate son-in-law Jared Kushner. According to administration sources who spoke with Politico, Trump is holding off on a national emergency decision until Kushner “finishes his research and comes to a conclusion himself.”
If past examples of Kushner’s research serve as a model, it’s not going to be much help. To ready himself for the job of ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the White House adviser boasted of his great preparation process of reading “25 books” on the region’s profoundly complex history. Unable to get Palestinians onboard for the talks, his plan was by all accounts a failure. Mike Pompeo called it a “deal that only the Israelis could love,” while other Trump allies were reportedly concerned that the peace deal could “trigger violence.” As the government continues to botch testing and fail to flatten the outbreak curve, one imagines Kushner’s preparation this time around: working from home in Kalorama, watching Contagion, and Googling “Ken Burns Spanish Flu.”
Meanwhile, President Trump has his own reservations about declaring a national emergency. According to Politico, he fears that such a designation would counter his incoherent messaging so far that the coronavirus is not a major threat to public health and the economy:
Trump’s concern at this point is that going further could hamper his narrative that the coronavirus is similar to the seasonal flu and could further agitate Wall Street, said the three people familiar with the discussions …
“The president isn’t persuaded because [an emergency declaration] contradicts his message that this is the flu,” said a Republican who speaks to Trump …
The administration is “not comfortable with the optics of national emergency” because of how it might impact Wall Street, tourism and air travel, a former Department of Homeland Security official said.
Rather than declare a national emergency that would free up to $40 billion to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, the White House is expected to provide loans for small businesses; according to the Washington Post, Trump is also “strongly considering a bailout for oil and gas producers.” On Wednesday night, in a speech reportedly written by Jared Kushner and White House senior xenophobe Stephen Miller, Trump announced that all travel from Europe to the United States would be suspended for 30 days — despite pandemic levels of community spread already present in the country.