No, Jared Is Not Going “To Get Us All Killed”, But He Shows The Value Of Familial Distancing In A Pandemic

The New York Times ran a column this morning with the sensational headline “Jared Kushner Is Going To Get Us All Killed.” The sudden appearance of Kushner as a main player in the task force on the Covid-19 was highlighted with his appearance at yesterday’s press conference. He was preceded by a formal thank you to Ivanka Trump for her efforts. While many have criticized statements made by Kushner in the press conference, I thought his points were well taken like noting that some mayors and governors have failed in this crisis while others have excelled. Nevertheless, I have been a critic of the inclusion of Kushner and Ivanka Trump on the White House staff since it was announced because it is a form of raw nepotism. (See here, here, and here and here) I have also been a long critic of such nepotism by members of Congress. The sudden thrusting of the two to the forefront of this crisis is remarkably harmful to the Administration and its efforts. I have been highly impressed, and relieved, by the superb team assembled by the task force. I believe that they have been doing an outstanding job.

For that reason, I have no idea why it was necessary to suddenly put the President’s family into the mix and rekindle the long controversy over nepotism. With some polls showing the majority of the public opposed to the White House response, this was a critical press conference where impressive data was to be disclosed on the federal distribution of essential materials. Rather than ride that possible news, Trump threw Kushner into the mix and his role promptly washed out the coverage on the success of the task force.

The column by Michele Goldberg runs through the long list of criticism over Kushner and his history in business. His critics insist that he has had a series of colossal failures before joining the White House and continued that record with such disasters as his Middle East peace plan. However, there is little reason to believe that he will endanger anyone on the task force. His comments seemed to be well-informed and focused on the issues. Some criticism that he showed a lack of knowledge, like not understanding how a federal stockpile works, are unfair and exaggerated. That does not mean that I believe this was a wise move. It is not. It was wrong for John F. Kennedy to appoint his brother at Attorney General and wrong for Bill Clinton to make Hillary Clinton the head of the health care task force. Those wrongs do not make this right. Just as I opposed the inclusion of any family member on the White House staff (a position I have held for decades in writing against nepotism in Washington), I think his inclusion on a pandemic task force magnifies those problems (and political costs) a hundred fold.

The weird aspect to all of this is the timing. President Trump has assembled an amazing team of top experts in medicine, emergency relief, and transportation. Critics have had to acknowledge the strength of that team. I still do not believe that this task force has been given sufficient credit for its work in this crisis. Yet, the fruits of that work are now appearing as resources ramp up across the country. Then the White House decided to inject this controversy into the mix — inviting cries of objections over family connections trumping expertise on a crisis where thousands may die. Why?

The column captures the tsunami of objections this morning well:

“The president was reportedly furious over the website debacle, but Kushner’s authority hasn’t been curbed. Politico reported that Kushner, “alongside a kitchen cabinet of outside experts including his former roommate and a suite of McKinsey consultants, has taken charge of the most important challenges facing the federal government,” including the production and distribution of medical supplies and the expansion of testing. Kushner has embedded his own people in the Federal Emergency Management Agency; a senior official described them to The Times as “a ‘frat party’ that descended from a U.F.O. and invaded the federal government.'”

Those concerns are not confined to anti-Trump critics. There is a legitimate reason to be discomforted by the appearance of the President’s son-in-law in such a key position. With projections of up to 240,000 deaths coming from the White House, the public wants to see people at the helm who are the top of their fields — relevant fields to this pandemic.

If this makes no management sense, it makes even less political sense. When the Administration is winning over some critics in aspects of its pandemic response, it decided to create a new and easy target for criticism. Critics can now spread doubt over the basis for the President’s decisions. Whatever position Kushner holds (and that remains undefined), he described making high level calls and directives on resources that could make the difference of life and death for thousands.

While I have opposed his appointment to the staff on nepotism grounds, I have never joined critics in attacking Kushner’s intelligence or background. I have never met him and many accounts of his past often seem highly biased, if not rabid. He clearly has had some success in life. However, at the time of one of our greatest challenges as a nation, the President owes it to the public to show that he is bringing in people who are the very best of their fields based entirely on their records, not their family associations.

This is why in a pandemic it is essential to engage in familial distancing in the management of the crisis.

270 thoughts on “No, Jared Is Not Going “To Get Us All Killed”, But He Shows The Value Of Familial Distancing In A Pandemic”

  1. Jared Kushner is the poster child for a greedy and ruthless NY slumlord. Just ask his tenants. That’s what he knows a lot about. Beyond this he doesn’t have any expertise in matters assigned to him by his father-in-law. But Trump has now appointed his son-in-law to head up the cpronavirus task force despite the fact Kushner has nothing in his resume that would recommend him for the position. He has no medical background in viruses or experience in coordinating the distribution of vital aid to the states. He even remarked this week that he didn’t know NY was in desperate need of testing kits and ventilators–in spite of the fact that Governor Cuomo has been shouting about the shortage for weeks! So it is strange you could argue in your column, Jonathan, that “there is little reason to believe that he (Kushner) will endanger anyone on the task force”. Every day Kushner is in charge of the task force endangers millions of Americans who may be exposed to the coronavirus!

    1. “Every day Kushner is in charge of the task force endangers millions of Americans who may be exposed to the coronavirus!”

      Does Kushner endanger Americans like Pelosi when she encouraged SF to congregate in China Town which helps to spread the virus?

      I say get rid of Pelosi. She is a health risk.

  2. John Kennedy chose Lyndon Johnson to be Vice President. Remember what Michael Corleone said ” Keep your friends close and you enimies closer”.

  3. John Kennedy chose Bobby Kennedy to be attorney general because his father( Joeseph Kennedy) told him to. The father told John to have someone he could trust to be AG so that person could cover his back side in Washington. Remember what Harry Truman said, if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.

  4. Some data on why Jonathan Turley, Left/Right Wing news corporations peddle histrionic headlines

    Cross-national evidence of a negativity bias in psychophysiological reactions to news

    News coverage of current affairs is predominantly negative. American accounts of this tendency tend to focus on journalistic practices, but this cannot easily account for negative news content around the world. It is more likely that negativity in news is a product of a human tendency to be more attentive to negative news content. Just how widespread is this tendency? Our evidence suggest that, all around the world, the average human is more physiologically activated by negative than by positive news stories. Even so, there is a great deal of variation across individuals. The latter finding is of real significance for newsmakers: Especially in a diversified media environment, news producers should not underestimate the audience for positive news content.

    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1908369116
    PubMed: 31481621
    Published By: National Academy of Sciences
    Print ISSN: 0027-8424

    1. “Donald Trump was more comfortable ‘fighting’ government. Crisis Management requires different skill sets.”

      That is right and Trump has been fighting government for decades trying to get the government to do the right thing. He was elected because as has been proven Trump has the skill sets Obama lacked.

  5. America’s Slow Response: 

    Virus Testing Became Achilles Heal

    Feb. 12, a total of 2,009 tests had been conducted in the United States, according to CDC data.

    “We’re screwed from a testing standpoint if this thing takes off in the US,” Susan Butler-Wu, director of medical microbiology at the Los Angeles County and University of Southern California Medical Center, warned in a Feb. 13 email to fellow scientists.

    The United States was clearly falling behind in the fight against covid-19. Other countries such as Singapore and Taiwan were ramping up testing quickly. In South Korea, 1,000 people were being tested each day by mid-February, a number that would increase more than tenfold by the end of the month.

    The Geneva-based World Health Organization, meanwhile, had already delivered 250,000 diagnostic tests designed and manufactured by a German lab to 70 laboratories around the world.

    Academic and hospital researchers including Greninger eagerly experimented with the German lab design early on and found it workable, but U.S. health officials continued on their own path.

    “To our knowledge, no discussions occurred between WHO and CDC (or other USG agencies) about WHO providing COVID-19 tests to the U.S.,” WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told The Post.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2020/04/03/coronavirus-cdc-test-kits-public-health-labs/?arc404=true

    1. Regarding Above:

      Our slow response to this crisis should finally discredit ‘Small Government’ Conservatives. The idea that an amateur can run the Executive Branch.. while alienating professionals.. should sound preposterous by now.

      1. You’re stuck in the 80s seth. like the other day. small government was ronnie reagan’s platform

        that was not trump’s platform, small government. it was fair trade over free trade, build the wall, get out of endless wars.

        as for executive experience, Trump had a lot of it before, in business, and he’s had 3 years since, at the pinnace of government. OJT ya know. LOL

        1. Kurtz, we’ve all known rich businessmen who were totally eccentric. To argue that they’re all qualified for president is totally ridiculous.

          Until Trump, all but 3 presidents had been either, or, General, Vice President, Senator or Governor.

          Lincoln had been in State Government. Taft had been Solicior General. And Hoover had been Commerce Secretary.

      2. “The idea that an amateur can run the Executive Branch”

        We learned that in the Obama administration and got smarter. You keep telling us how Trump should listen to the professionals. 5 days before the Chinese Travel Ban was written and 7 days till effectuated Fauci was downplaying the threat but Trump did the Travel Ban anyway. The left criticized Trump’s Chinese Travel Ban. Even earlier than that on Jan 17 Trump started airport screening.

        Now let us hear what the Democrats did. Nancy Pelosi and the Health Commisioner of NY both in their respective cities encouraged people to congregate in large numbers. Peter Paint Chips thinks that people squished in like sardines together prevents the disease from spreading. He needs a book on biology. What else were the Democrats doing? Impeaching a President without a thought in the world regarding the virus.

        Yes, the test kits were not sufficient but the WHO wasn’t giving us test kits. Why couldn’t we develop quicker and wider testing? Democrats like bureaucracies and the bureaucracy prevented other labs from testing without a specific license. Who depleted the PPE equipment? Obama. He was a Democrat wasn’t he? Who didn’t buy the needed ventillators for NY State. Governor Cuomo. Isn’t he a Democrat as well? Whose bailing out Cuomo? Donald Trump.

        Tell us what you would have done in Trump’s place. Better yet tell us what you would have told Nancy Pelosi to do if you had the opportunity.

        All talk no action. That seems to be your motto.

        1. Diaper Man, show me a soundbite of a high level Republican expressing concern that impeachment could distract from the pandemic response. I don’t think any such soundbite exists.

          1. Such a soundbite has no relavance to the issue. You are the one that says too little was being done about this dangerous virus and you were the one that said Trump should trust the experts. Trump stopped some air traffic mid January and before the impeachment was ended he ordered the Travel Ban. Now it is time for you to tell us what Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff and the rest of the Democrats did about the virus. Surely they were more active than Trump so without question you can tell us what they did.

            Tell us why Pelosi didn’t applaud the President for the Travel Ban instead of encouraging people to congregate in SF Chinatown. Tell us why Cuomo didn’t buy the needed ventilators when he had a chance several years ago. Tell us why the head of the NYC Health Dept decided to fight Trump’s actions to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and encouraged people to crowd NYC China Town for the lunar new year festival.

            It seems Trump was the only one to fight the spread of the virus and the prominent Democratic leaders did everything they could to spread it. Their rationale seems to be that death and harm to America might permit the Democrats to win the next election. If you had regard towards religion one might ask you whether you were siding with the devil but morality doesn’t seem to exist amongst Democrats of today so neither would the concept of a devil which seems to be ingrained into the leftist religion.

            1. Diaper Man, the travel ban was fine. Trump was ahead of the curve on that. So why did he spend the next several weeks minimizing the threat? Extensive soundbites exist of Trump and Fox News minimizing Corona until markets crashed in early March.

              1. The President recognized immediately the external threat we faced. He acted in January to close down air traffic from affected areas and then acted with a Chinese Traveler Ban even while waiting for the impeachment trial to end.

                What did Pelosi, Schiff and all the Democrats do. They wanted to permit the external threat in and did everything they could to spread the disease.

                The WHO said it wasn’t transmissible, Fauci said it was a very low threat. Many scientists apparently thought it was more like SARS and the Chinese lied.

                The President still acted with bans and then extended the ban to European nations with even more Democrats objecting to the President closing the doors to the external threat.

                Assuming the virus becomes seasonal how does one manage it. It’s pretty similar management to Influenza. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face and social distancing. You love hyperbole and and grand excitement. That is not leadership. That type of action is for chronic depressives that require that type of stimulus to provide them a desire to live.

    2. Peter / Washington Post copy/paste states…..Virus Testing Became Achilles Heal

      Which of the viral tests? PCR or Antibody? if Antibody, single or combination…IgM or IgG or IgM-IgG?

      What were the sensitivity and specificity of each test?

      What are the Time of window to test?

      These are important scientific metrics. Not mentioning them reveals disregard for the science of this very important discussion, and perhaps denigrating it for political scores

      We look forward to your responses with appropriate scholastic scientific journal links

      best

      1. Estovir, it’s a long, feature story but you shall find the answer by reading it. But I don’t think you want to. It’s The Washington Post and a militant Trumper can’t possibly click on one of their links. So instead you seek to ‘discredit’ me with questions of technical nature.

        1. Estovir has proven himself knowledgeable in the field. You have proven yourself as well but not in the fashion you intended.

    1. I’ve accidentally bought 1x a Gatorade that had 1 sip out of it. Didn’t hear the cracking plastic noise. Noticed. Trash! $$$ down the drain. I pay very close attention now to drink caps when shopping.

      1. Decades ago when I travelled in Mexico and lived there for a couple of months I used to eat in the dirty markets and everywhere but never got sick yet the other Americans I lived with that ate at good restaurants were all getting sick. That is because they assumed the restaurant was careful and I assumed that whatever I ate or drank could kill me. I drank only sealed bottles and wouldn’t let anyone open my bottle for me frequently preferring coke because if fizzled, no ice, cleaned my utensils or used my own and frequently pulled my own food out of a boiling pot in the marketplace so it wouldn’t be contaminated.

  6. were we just talking about RFK? I was not trying to lionize him just saying he did a good job on organized crime. and that nepotism is not always the problem people assume it to be.

    ironically here comes this sad news about his daughter who was canoeing and now she and her kid are missing

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/apr/03/maryland-kennedy-relatives-missing-canoe-chesapeake-bay?utm_term=Autofeed&CMP=twt_gu&utm_medium&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1585948437

    Authorities in Maryland were searching on Friday for the daughter and a grandson of the former lieutenant governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, after a canoe they were paddling in the Chesapeake Bay did not return to shore.

    Governor Larry Hogan identified the missing people as Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, 40, and her eight-year-old son, Gideon Joseph Kennedy McKean.

    Kennedy Townsend, who served two terms as lieutenant governor, is the eldest daughter of Robert F Kennedy, who was US attorney general, a New York senator and a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1968, the year in which he was assassinated in Los Angeles. She is a niece of the 35th president, John F Kennedy, who was shot dead in Dallas in 1963.

    1. I’m afraid she’s lost her daughter and her grandson. They’ve been in the water for five hours, and the canoe’s been recovered (empty). Absolute horror. Ethel Kennedy at age 91 has outlived two of her children, two of her grandchildren, and now one of her great-grandchildren.

  7. The highest number of billable hours and the first trillion dollar award.

    The most egregious and demonstrable tort in the history of mankind.

    Where in the world are the international “ambulance chasers?”

    They should have already filed against China for exponentially gross dereliction and negligence, if not colossal malice aforethought.

  8. Staggeringly bad move to J Kush on the stage yesterday. I once had hopes for him to be a stable voice in the Trump show, but then he had to go all ride or die with MBS as he murdered a journalist.

    Yesterday he as talking from the slide in his mind that he almost remembered from the pre conference briefing. Painful to watch.

  9. A senior adviser to the President, Jared Kushner. Well, that should end any more discussion on Trump’s decision making. A stupid person’s idea of a smart person.

  10. Nepotism, Cronyism, Favoritsm, Racism, Multiculturalism, LGBTQism, ism, ism, ism, ism, ism. ism, ism, ism, ism, ism.ism, ism, ism, ism, ism.ism, ism, ism, ism, ism.ism, ism, ism, ism, ism.ism, ism, ism, ism, ism.ism, ism, ism, ism, ism.ism, ism, ism, ism, ism.ism, ism, ism, ism, ism.ism, ism, ism, ism, ism.ism, ism, ism, ism, ism.ism, ism, ism, ism, ism.ism, ism, ism, ism, ism.ism, ism, ism, ism, ism.ism, ism, ism, ism, ism.ism, ism, ism, ism, ism.ism, ism, ism, ism, ism.ism, ism, ism, ism, ism.ism, ism, ism, ism, ism.ism, ism, ism, ism, ism.ism, ism, ism, ism, ism.ism, ism, ism, ism, ism.

    Until people can identify the measurable qualifications for a specific role and objectively evaluate each individual for that role, then WTF difference does any of this debate make? And before people get their blood pressure up because it’s Jared, aka something President Trump did, keep in mind nepotism is at least a discrete form of selection for a very specific function. What’s worse? Far worse? Imagine if you will the level of stupidity and ignorance to make a choice because the candidate is identified just by an an R or a D after their name.

    1. The American Founders replaced the monarchy with self-governance.

      The new Sovereign is the People and the new Subject of the Sovereign is government.

      Checks and Balances among the three branches assure adherence to fundamental law.

      To each elected and appointed official, the power of the monarch was redistributed.

      The various elected/appointed “Sovereigns” have the power of the abolished monarch in each particular aspect and category.

      The various “Sovereigns” may hire anyone they choose.

      As a corollary, affirmative action is unconstitutional.

      Political opponents do not have any redistributed power of the monarch and may not compel hiring.

      1. Checks and Balances among the three branches assure adherence to fundamental law

        Theoretically, yes. In reality however, add in human nature and the civically illiterate electorate and we are only assured of this self-evident truth: That whenever (not if ever) any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

        1. Did you say electorate? The “poor” and “masses” were never intended to vote. We gave you “…a republic, if you can keep it,” said Ben Franklin. You keep it by keeping the vote extremely limited and undiluted, and by strictly adhering to the “manifest tenor” of the Constitution. The dilution of the vote has allowed the sinister forces of the Deep Deep State to obtain dominion.

          I don’t understand how the Founders didn’t codify it but America was established as a restricted-vote republic, never intended to be a one man, one vote democrazy. “Democracy” was created as a restricted-vote republic by the Greeks, perpetuated by the Romans and finally perfected as such by the American Founders but they failed to codify the restrictions which were generally: Male, European, 21, 50 lbs. Sterling/50 acres.

          Further, Lincoln and his successors, through the seizure of power and the imposition of brutal dictatorship (Crimes and Cover-Ups in American Politics – Donald Jeffries), destroyed the Constitution and constitutional America, eliminating classes from American society and diluting the composition and vote into insignificance to the degree that America was made vulnerable to full communist subjugation beginning with post-Lincoln “Progressivism.”
          ________________________________________________________

          “the people are nothing but a great beast…

          I have learned to hold popular opinion of no value.”

          – Alexander Hamilton
          _________________

          “The true reason (says Blackstone) of requiring any qualification, with regard to property in voters, is to exclude such persons, as are in so mean a situation, that they are esteemed to have no will of their own.”

          “If it were probable that every man would give his vote freely, and without influence of any kind, then, upon the true theory and genuine principles of liberty, every member of the community, however poor, should have a vote… But since that can hardly be expected, in persons of indigent fortunes, or such as are under the immediate dominion of others, all popular states have been obliged to establish certain qualifications, whereby, some who are suspected to have no will of their own, are excluded from voting; in order to set other individuals, whose wills may be supposed independent, more thoroughly upon a level with each other.”

          – Alexander Hamilton – The Farmer Refuted, 1775

    2. Have you been paying attention to the qualifications of those nominated for Federal Judges these days? Some have never spent time in a courtroom and never tried a case.

      1. oh that’s not anything new. both parties have partaked of that sort of thing Enigma

        and we’ll see more of it too, since the bootlickers who make their way up the ladder rarely have to be bothered with actually doing something as plebian as going to court to present evidence. that’s what nobodies like me get to do.

      2. Some have never spent time in a courtroom and never tried a case.

        I’ve never tried a case, have you? What qualifications did they have to get nominated and then confirmed? Most importantly, what is their report card to date? What are you measuring them by? Let me guess, if President Trump nominated them, then they clearly are not qualified. Once again, imagine if you will the level…

        1. I’ve never tried a case but I realize that starting with a lifetime appointment probably isn’t the place for me to start. No offense but you may not be the best candidate either.

          I don’t especially blame Trump for most of his nominees, his own experience with courtrooms is as a defendant and giving depositions and he’s pretty much full Peter Principle on picking judges as he is defending against pandemics The Federalist Society et. al tell him to pick and that’s what he does. I have to give Sen. Tim Scott (with an assist to MArco Rubio) for standing up on at least a couple occasions and drawing the line on lawyers that were activists for voter suppression and gender issues. That still didn’t keep multiple judges rated “non-qualified” by the ABA from sliding right thru. I just read a summary of judges whose nominations failed and succeeded, some were pretty sad but as long as they’ll overturn Roe v Wade… they’re good.

          1. There is a world of difference between a Supreme Court Justice and the trial level judges. They have different purposes something you need to consider. That is why based on her own comments frequently made Sotomayor should never have been appointed to the Supreme Court.

            1. The only Democratic appointee in the last 60-odd years who hasn’t been a wart on the ass of the Republic was Byron White.

          2. I’ve never tried a case but I realize that starting with a lifetime appointment probably isn’t the place for me to start.

            That’s a cop out. Just admit you have no idea what the qualifications are to be nominated and confirmed. You likely can take a swag at how you would identify a good judge. Given your record on this blog, I’m fairly certain we wouldn’t agree. I prefer the law and not lawfare. DoI’s self-evident truths. The rule of law. Equal justice under the law. Old timey constitutional stuff. Not identity politics or judicial activism. Of course you wouldn’t want to overturn Roe v Wade. That would require a spine, honor and a sense of what the Democratic party, thanks to Margaret Sanger, has had as a strategic purpose of PP and Eugenics. You should be so proud.

      3. Have you been paying attention to the qualifications of those nominated for Federal Judges these days? Some have never spent time in a courtroom and never tried a case.

        Most working lawyers have a transactional practice and do little or no litigating. Where have you been?

  11. I am surprised that anyone would suggest that any criticism of Kushner is based on anti semitism.After all Trumpis. the antiSemite in chief Kushner is just another Trumptard half wit the son of an embittered felonJonathan wasted cyberspace in an attempt to glorify these campaign rallies

    1. Zinoviev is trolling every body now. very funny. btw how’s Kamenev doing? ask him he’s in the cell next to you in hell

    2. I was not going to respond to any of the comments on this matter, even those that were not very bright in content or character. But, Ziniioviv, has gone way too far. His stupid and evil accusation of the President as “antiSemite in chief,” is one that shows just how real antiSemites work. You blame the other person for your own guilt. The comment by Znioviv should not have been allowed on this site…unless falsehoods are welcomed.

  12. The communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats) have taken full advantage of the panic they induced and duped America into committing suicide (economic) out of fear of the “Wuhan Flu.”
    ____________________________________________________

    “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

    – Rahm Emanuel, Reichsführer of the Clinton Schutzstaffel

  13. Dr. Fauci, “We must kill the patient in order to save it.”
    ___________________________________________

    “That dudn’t make any sense!”

    – George W. Bush

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