Jared Kushner Scrapped a National Covid-19 Response Because it Was Hitting Democratic States

Jared Kushner Scrapped a National Covid-19 Response Because it Was Hitting Democratic States
Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Getty Images)

Vanity Fair has the sordid details today of an innovative form of voter suppression: Ensuring a large swath of people who might vote against you die after being infected with a novel form of the flu. The story, which details the formation of a team led by Jared Kushner to implement a cohesive, national response to covid-19, alleges that while such a program was created, it was ultimately scrapped for political reasons. As the publication reports, the Trump Administration decided that the spread of coronavirus wasn’t worth combatting on a federal level, as it hit states that voted Democrat earliest and hardest:

Most troubling of all, perhaps, was a sentiment the expert said a member of Kushner’s team expressed: that because the virus had hit blue states hardest, a national plan was unnecessary and would not make sense politically. “The political folks believed that because it was going to be relegated to Democratic states, that they could blame those governors, and that would be an effective political strategy,” said the expert.
That logic may have swayed Kushner. “It was very clear that Jared was ultimately the decision maker as to what [plan] was going to come out,” the expert said.

Needless to say, the national plan, as one person involved told the magazine, “just went poof into thin air.” [Vanity Fair]

Today, at John Lewis’s funeral, Barack Obama softened his years-long policy of being “done with all this” and frankly condemned the policies of his successors in a speech that drew a pointed line between the notorious white supremacist politician Bull Connor and, well, the current state of things. In a eulogy at Ebenezer Baptist Church the former president, who has reportedly preferred to direct Democratic politics from behind the scenes and focus on his role as an everyday American thought leader, remembered his friend and mentor as “a man of pure joy and unbreakable perseverance” and launched into a call to action reminiscent of his days before the Netflix deal.

“Bull Connor may be gone,” he said, “but today we witness with our own eyes police officers kneeling on the necks of Black Americans.” He continued:

George Wallace may be gone, but we can witness our federal governments sending agents to use tear gas and batons against peaceful demonstrators.
We may not longer have to guess the number of jellybeans in a jar in order to cast a ballot, but even as we sit here, there are those in power who are doing their darnedest to discourage people from voting, by closing polling locations, and targeting minorities … and attacking our voting rights with surgical precision. Even undermining the postal service in the run-up to an election, depending on mail-in ballots, so people don’t get sick.
And I know this is a celebration of John’s life. There are some that might say we shouldn’t dwell on such things. But that’s why I’m talking about it. John Lewis devoted his time on this Earth fighting these very attacks on democracy, and what’s best in America, we’re seeing it circulate right now.”

“And some day,” the former president said, with characteristic if increasingly improbable optimism, “when we do finish that long journey towards freedom, when we do form a more perfect union, whether it’s years from now, or decades, or even if it takes another two centuries, John Lewis will be a founding father of that fuller, fairer, better America.”

Some other former presidents also said some things, none of which bear repeating here. [CNN]

  • Another day, another random private firm with absolutely no business managing a massive public health crisis being awarded a no-contest contract. [NPR]
  • A co-founder of the Federalist Society and a recent Trump supporter writes in the New York Times that Trump should be removed from office for trying to move the election back. [New York Times]
  • A protester on the question of who is really terrorizing who. [Twitter]
  • Noted mask skeptic and Texas congressman Louie Gohmert is “all in” for taking hydroxychloroquine to treat his recently diagnosed covid-19. [Washington Post]
  • John Lewis’ final words to the public. [New York Times]
  • President Trump said he was going to look into the killing of Vanessa Guillén, a Fort Hood soldier allegedly killed by another soldier on her base, “very powerfully” in a meeting with the family today. [The Hill]
  • Get ready for the teachers’ strikes. [Politico]
  • Black and Latinx people, though they make up the majority of those infected with covid-19 in the United States, are barely represented in clinical trials. [Bloomberg]
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