The Trump administration was a swampy con job. The Trump organization is a swampy con. The only saving grace of the Trump administration and Trump as a person and brand is that he and it is and are incompetent. The fruit is so low-hanging, the participants are usually rich kids who have never had to really work hard for anything, and the laziness of thought and execution is apparent. This incompetence is also attached to a cruelty and sociopathy that has been destructive to millions of people around the world, and ultimately helped lead to a poorly managed response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
NBC News has a report about one such example. One of the agencies run by a college buddy of Jared Kushner reportedly received $100 million in federal funds to help ameliorate issues facing our supply chain due to the pandemic. That by itself would not be news. What is news is that in the year since receiving that money, the International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has “so far failed to invest a single dime” towards its directive. In opposite land, one might say they were shocked by this news.
The DFC was led by former Jared Kushner roommate Adam Boehler from 2019 until the end of Trump’s reign of terror. This position afforded him all kinds of fun times, bopping around the globe fixing all of the world’s and America’s problems with Trump’s son-in-law. Remember how Jared solved the Israel/Palestine problem? Remember how the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reportedly had Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi murdered, and then we helped cover it up? Boehler got to be on most of those plane flights and in those meeting rooms with Kushner.
The Trump administration tasked Boehler’s DFC, through an executive order that expanded the DFC’s purview, with re-shoring the manufacturing of personal protective equipment and other pandemic necessitates in the hopes of relieving the stresses on the world’s supply chains. However, Trump’s move to earmark the money for the DFC was an attempt to alleviate the crunch felt domestically as the U.S. scrambled to find gloves and masks for front-line workers.
The $100 million given to the DFC was reportedly there to be potentially “leveraged” into many billions of dollars in loans. One of the promises being made to the American public was that in creating this international loan program that would help keep supplies like pharmaceuticals coming into the United States, it would bring jobs into the country by leveraging these loans to give the U.S. supply chain manufacturing footholds that have disappeared over the decades with China’s dominance as the world’s manufacturing hub.
At the time, Boehler told Reuters that an attractive $12 billion Taiwanese semiconductor plant could end up in Arizona with this money. “We provide loan and investment financing, so could we be relevant there? Absolutely. We’re talking tens of billions of dollars in potential here, so that’s a possibility, I wouldn’t exclude that.”
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) points out that none of this seems to have happened. Not that the promises made didn’t happen, just that the $100 million that was taken from the CARES Act didn’t go anywhere. The author of the GAO report, Chelsea Kenney, told NBC News that the DFC sat on the money for two years, looking at 175 loan applications and getting them down to eight. After two years and being floated $100 million, the DFC has next to nothing to show for it.
The DFC says that even though it was tasked with this job, there are other agencies that are tasked with jobs too, and there are a lot of reviews that must happen before money is handed out, and it is unfair that the DFC has only just begun handling this money and is being judged harshly. Kenney told NBC that that’s the job of the GAO, to figure out how well or not well a government agency is working. “Here we are two years in and without an evaluation we can’t really understand if this is a tool to address these needs in a national emergency.”
The DFC, however, responded and said that while it did not disburse any of the $100 million towards its stated goals, it had spent about $1 million going through the loan applications. The GAO also found that the “DFC has not tracked how much money it spent on the Covid supply-chain program.”
The silverish lining in all of this is that while tens of millions of dollars were irresponsibly frittered away by the Trump administration during the pandemic, the DFC seems to have mostly just been a waste of time and resources, wrapped inside of a PR stunt facade:
In July 2020 the agency announced a $765 million commitment to work with Kodak to make generic drug ingredients needed in the pandemic. Kodak’s stocks soared by 570 percent and the company said it was planning to expand existing facilities in Rochester, New York, and St. Paul, Minnesota.
The deal came under immediate scrutiny and never went through.
The fact of the matter is that from the very beginning of the pandemic, the Trump administration did what it did in regards to every single move it made even before the pandemic: Trump and his hangers-on looked to find out how it could make money, meaning siphon off taxpayer dollars to Trump and his allies.