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Trump tasks Jared Kushner with finding COVID-19 vaccine sooner: “Operation Warp Speed”

Trump tasks Jared Kushner with finding COVID-19 vaccine sooner: “Operation Warp Speed”

The truly stunning breadth and depth of the Trump administration’s mishandling of the novel coronavirus pandemic could very well take years to fully comprehend.

Since day one the president has misrepresented the facts to the American people, gradually transitioning from a narrative where he downplayed the risks and even called the outbreak a Democratic hoax to one where he claims that his White House has done an incredible job and that he’s saved countless lives.

One of the clearest indications that the Trump administration isn’t taking COVID-19 seriously enough is that Jared Kushner—the president’s incredibly underqualified slumlord son-in-law—has been spearheading some of the White House’s efforts to curb the outbreak.

Previous reports from administration officials indicate that so far Kushner has proven to be completely unequal to the task. He and his team failed to deliver on the massive COVID-19 testing increase they promised and his ham-fisted efforts at allocating resources have complicated FEMA’s logistics as the agency works to distribute medical supplies.

One administration official went so far as to say Kushner “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.”

Yesterday, it was revealed that Kushner foolishly hired volunteers from consulting and private equity firms to find and distribute personal protection equipment to hospitals. The decision was an unmitigated disaster since the young hires had little if any experience in “health care, procurement or supply-chain operations.” They weren’t ready or qualified for the assignment, much like the man who hired them.

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So how does a leader like Trump reward such blatant incompetence? More responsibilities of course! The Daily Beast now reports that Kushner is to be entrusted with facilitating one of the most important tasks currently facing the human species: developing a vaccine for this coronavirus.

The president believes (with all of his nonexistent medical expertise) that a vaccine could be available by year’s end. Kushner is supposed to aid this process as what’s part of what’s being called “Operation Warp Speed.”

White House Senior Advisor Peter Navarro proposed the initiative and will be working in tandem with Kushner. The ostensible rationale for including Kushner in the process is a hope that he will be able to tap his personal business contacts to streamline it.

The quixotic quest to finish a vaccine in such a short time frame has been called into question by some members of the administration. “

We just do not see it happening,” said one such official with knowledge of the Coronavirus Task Force’s workings. Other officials told The Daily Beast that they voiced concerns about the proposed timeline to Trump personally and he simply replied: “I want it done” or “I want it taken care of.”

Given Kushner’s track record and Trump’s seeming inability to do anything right when it comes to this pandemic, prospects look grim. Lives are on the line and instead of assigning the most qualified individuals to lead us through this crisis, the president is indulging in his usual nepotism. There is simply no excuse for it and he must be held accountable at the ballot box come November.

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Original reporting by Erin Banco, Asawin Suebsaeng, and Adam Rawnsley for The Daily Beast.

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