KEY POINTS

  • Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner pushed to join coronavirus response effort
  • Kushner reportedly told Trump the media was exaggerating the crisis
  • Kushner was behind Trump's failed promise of a national coronavirus website

President Donald Trump has caught a great deal of flak over his propensity to publicly dispute statements from health experts and the media regarding the coronavirus crisis. According to a new report, this was likely due to his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who repeatedly told Trump that the spread of the disease was being overblown in order to undermine his administration.

The report came from The New York Times, which described how, after Vice President Mike Pence was tasked by Trump to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, Kushner sought to insert himself into the process – despite Pence not soliciting him for help and having a lack of any expertise or experience in health management.

Kushner was then tasked with researching the possible responses to the crisis, but he seemed most interested in calming an increasingly frustrated Trump.

President Trump, who has been openly hostile toward the media’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, reportedly had Kushner at his side telling him that the crisis was being baselessly played up by the media and Democrats, claims Trump would go on to make himself.

Kushner was also key in pushing the president to cut off travel from Europe and declaring a national emergency, both of which were announced last week. He was also behind the promise made by Trump on Friday that Google was preparing to unveil a national website aimed at informing Americans about the coronavirus. That website as such did not exist and will likely take months before it is rolled out to limited areas, information Trump appears to not have had until after his Friday address.

When the news media pointed this out, Trump reportedly became extremely upset, venting his frustration behind closed doors to his aides.

Despite this flub, Trump praised both Pence and Kushner at a White House press conference Monday. “I think they’re doing really a great job,” he said.

Since getting involved in the coronavirus response effort, Kushner has also help pushed for increased testing, more medical supplies to hospitals and had pharmaceutical companies agree to develop mobile testing options.

Trump Kushner President Donald Trump passes his adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner during a Hanukkah Reception at the White House in Washington, D.C., December 7, 2017. Photo: Reuters