Jared Kushner told Bob Woodward: 'Trump's now back in charge. It's not the doctors.'
In a newly released taped interview, Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, says that his father-in-law rejected the advice of medical professionals during the pandemic — and that he was only concerned about his chances of reelection.
"That doesn't mean there's not still a lot of pain and there won't be pain for a while, but that basically was, we've now put out rules to get back to work," Kushner says. "Trump's now back in charge. It's not the doctors. They've kind of — we have, like, a negotiated settlement."
He adds: "It was almost like Trump getting the country back from the doctors. Right? In the sense that what he now did was, you know, he's going to own the open-up."
America's top infectious disease specialist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, confirmed the overall accuracy of Kushner's remarks to CNN, saying, "I don't know exactly the timing, but it was clear that some months ago there was a pivot away from complete focusing on public health issues to looking at opening up the country with regard to the economy."
Kushner explains this shift in the interview with Woodward, noting that Trump didn't want the federal government to take control of testing because he wanted to "own" a successful response but blame state governors when things went wrong.
"The president also is very smart politically with the way he did that fight with the governors to basically say, no, no, no, no, I own the opening," Kushner tells Woodward. "Because again, the opening is going to be very popular. People want this country open. But if it opens in the wrong way, the question will be, did the governors follow the guidelines."
Kushner's newly released remarks indicate that since the beginning of the pandemic, Trump has scorned the advice of scientists and medical professionals in order to advance his own reelection agenda.
This month on a conference call with campaign aides, he blasted Fauci: "People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots," he said. He then referred to Fauci as a "disaster."
A few days earlier, at a campaign rally in Carson City, Nevada, on Oct. 19, he mocked his opponent, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, for "listening to the scientists."
"If you vote for Biden ... he will surrender your future to the virus," Trump said. "He's going to lock down. He'll listen to the scientists. If I listen totally to the scientists, we would right now have a country that would be in a massive depression instead of — we're like a rocket ship."
Back in April, even Fauci admitted on CNN's "State of the Union" that "obviously, you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives."
But, he added, he and other officials faced a lot of opposition, "a lot of pushback about shutting things down back then."
Trump's response was to share a tweet calling for Fauci to be fired.
And Trump's own personal response to the virus demonstrated his disregard for medical guidelines.
From hosting multiple superspreader events to outright refusing to wear a mask to taking an ill-advised joyride during his hospitalization with COVID-19, Trump has flouted science since the outset of the pandemic.
And it's the American people who have paid: A new study released by the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University indicates Trump could have saved anywhere from 130,000 to 210,000 of the 225,000 lives lost to the coronavirus in the United States thus far with an earlier and more competent virus response.
But all Trump seems to care about is the outcome of Election Day.
On Monday, he complained that the media's coronavirus coverage is dwarfing his election coverage.
"We have made tremendous progress with the China Virus, but the Fake News refuses to talk about it this close to the Election," Trump tweeted. "COVID, COVID, COVID is being used by them, in total coordination, in order to change our great early election numbers. Should be an election law violation!"
He falsely claimed that cases are only up due to more testing, and that any concerns are just a "Fake News Media Conspiracy."
"On November 4th., topic will totally change. VOTE!" Trump added.
Also during this week leading up to the election, the White House issued a statement proclaiming that among Trump's accomplishments was "ending the COVID-19 pandemic."
"From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the administration has taken decisive actions to engage scientists and health professionals in academia, industry and government to understand, treat, and defeat the disease," it said.
The White House later walked back the statement, claiming: "The intent was to say that it is our goal to end the virus."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.