The White House of the United States of America has access to trillions of dollars in funding and some of the world’s finest experts on every topic, including virology and epidemiology.
But The Spectator appears to have discovered the president’s son-in-law relying on the advice of a large, public Facebook Group to help craft policy in response to the coronavirus epidemic.
It has long been a joke that Jared Kushner’s job as “Senior White House advisor” is to save the world armed with nothing more than generational wealth and nepotism, seeing as he has no experience doing anything but bungling real estate deals.
So it was inevitable that when the President’s strategy of covering up a global health crisis, politicizing the issue and then lying about it failed, he would turn to Kushner in his hour of need — as he seemingly and inexplicably does every time Trump is in trouble. With the news that Trump delayed his long-awaited national emergency declaration pending Kushner’s input, one would hope he did his best to deliver the most accurate information possible.
Where might an enterprising scion turn in his hour of need? Faced with a task far beyond his purview, does he ensconce himself with the finest minds our nation has to offer? Does he jump into a car and head to the CDC?
Of course not! Instead, he goes to the one doctor he does know, his sister-in-law’s father Dr. Kurt Kloss, who then naturally submits the question to a public Facebook group, according to the Spectator:
‘If you were in charge of Federal response to the Pandemic what would your recommendation be,’ Kloss wrote in the private group Wednesday, according to screenshots… ‘Please only serious responses. I have direct channel to person now in charge at White House and have been asked for recommendations. I have already expressed concern for need for ventilators and more PPE (personal protective equipment) for frontline and test kits.’
The 22,000 person group “ER Docs” is screened for medical credentials, according to Politico, who reports “the Facebook crowd-sourcing exercise showed how Trump‘s team is scrambling for solutions to confront the outbreak after weeks of criticism for the administration’s sluggish response, a shortage of tests and the president’s own rhetoric downplaying the pandemic.”
What’s even more frightening is that some of the dozen measures proferred by Kushner’s sister-in-law’s father would literally leave Americans dying in the streets during the epidemic, like the suspension of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act of 1986 that requires emergency rooms to treat every patient.
Other suggestions from Dr. Kloss’ group are the kind of common sense things people have been screaming for Trump to do for weeks, like the drive-through testing South Korea pioneered, field hospitals and getting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) engaged, which only happened this afternoon because of the emergency declaration.
They also recommended delivering emergency funding to quarantined people, which Senate Republicans object to doing and the House is going to pass in the form of expanded sick-leave payments under Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) leadership anyway.
President Trump agreed to the Speaker’s terms, including paid sick leave, over the objection of his own party two hours after his Friday-afternoon press conference declaring a national emergency, However, Senate Majority Leader McConnell recently trashed the House Democrats’ plan as an “ideological wishlist,” so it remains to be seen if anything at all will get passed.
However, the American people still need someone in the highest office in the land that is competent enough to rely on the advice of the globally recognized virologists on staff at the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and the US Army’s Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases — not a random group of emergency room doctors distantly related to a nepotistically chosen political advisor.
Instead, we have “all the best people” madly scrambling to figure out the best practices to fight a highly-contagious pandemic after it has already spun out of control.
Finding out that in desperation, the White House is turning to a Facebook group of random doctors around the world for advice and ignoring the government expert doctors—whom he’s muzzled—is a damning indictment of President Trump’s entire haphazard response to the coronavirus, which itself is a gross caricature of how a real President like Barack Obama would handle this grave and growing viral outbreak.
Here are screenshots of Jared Kushner’s panel of emergency room doctors trying to practice epidemiology:
The morning after Trump’s hideous Oval Office address, Dr. Kloss confirmed that Jared Kushner was reading their suggestions:
Here’s the complete list of Facebook groups generated suggestions:
Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report. Find out more at grantstern.com.