What Kushner seems to have done is privatize a government agency. According to former assistant secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Juliette Kayyem, Kushner is in essence privatizing aspects of the government. “He muddied up a process that was really not needing a fix,” she said. According to the various reports, Kushner has brought in tons of people who are either replicating work already being done, therefore creating slowdowns because of redundancy, or he’s replacing those people with unvetted people doing the same work, which is slowing down the process as well. Frankly, Kushner sounds like he’s creating a private shadow version of a government response team—but he’s getting to move the money around.
In fact, he’s getting to do all of this because Trump’s only connection to something resembling work these days is handing off power to Jared or Ivanka. As a senior White House official told The Daily Beast: “[Jared] could be in his office just googling ‘coronavirus,’ show the results to the president, and still get a gold sticker from his dad-in-law. He is solving the coronavirus like he’s bringing peace to the [Middle East].”
What is known about Kushner’s activities surrounding his shadow task force is not good. For one, his team has been using private email to conduct their official business. The obvious hypocrisy of the Trump campaign’s never-ending chants of “lock her up” surrounding the private email server used by Hillary Clinton as a treasonous offense is yet one more example of this administration’s rotten corruption. The nature of these private emails, from big business to government officials with no clearly defined role in the government response, have confused many. As one official told The Washington Post back in March, “We don’t know who these people are. Who is this? We’re all getting these emails.”
In all of the traditional media spin of the Kushner task force story is the other side’s argument that while you may not like all of the opaque “private-sector” shadowy teammates Kushner is “coordinating” with, he has been able to “stabilize” the obviously tragic response of the Trump administration. The one aspect of this that they do not acknowledge is that it’s because the Trump administration’s response to the growing pandemic was devoid of any positive action, so just acknowledging that the government has a role in protecting the public health is a huge improvement.
Donald Trump could have told government officials to listen to a silent picture of Donald Trump and their response would have been 180 degrees better than what it has been. From December through February, the Trump administration allowed millions of dollars to be made exporting the medical supplies that supposedly Kushner is trying to get into our country. And when you look at what Kushner is actually doing, it seems that he’s just been figuring out ways to allow private industry, with very little oversight, to profit off of bringing the supplies back to our anemic medical infrastructure.
As The Atlantic reported early in March, Kushner was able to make sure that his business interests made money off of a coronavirus website Trump blathered about at some point. Kushner is getting something done.