Vanity Fair is reporting that one reason Trump is talking about lifting the “shelter-in-place” orders is that Kushner is advising him to:
Trump’s view that he can ignore Fauci’s opinion may be influenced by advice he’s getting from Jared Kushner, whose outside-the-box efforts have often rankled those in charge of managing the crisis. According to two sources, Kushner has told Trump about experimental treatments he’s heard about from executives in Silicon Valley. “Jared is bringing conspiracy theories to Trump about potential treatments,” a Republican briefed on the conversations told me. Another former West Wing official told me: “Trump is like an 11-year-old boy waiting for the fairy godmother to bring him a magic pill.” (The White House did not respond to a request for comment.)
This is, of course, the same Jared Kushner who wrote that disastrous Oval Office address for Trump — for which the government had to issue corrections almost before Trump finished speaking. The same Kushner who told Trump to fire Comey. The same Kushner who had Chris Christie fired from the transition team as soon as Trump was elected. The same Kushner whose amateur-hour “task force” on COVID-19 isn’t accomplishing anything but muddying up the chains of command.
Two sources said Vice President Mike Pence has complained to Trump about Kushner’s meddling in the work of the coronavirus task force. (Another former West Wing official disputed this, saying Pence wouldn’t openly challenge the Trump family. “Pence is politically smart,” the former official said.)
Well, it may not be politically smart, but even a suck-up like Pence is smart enough to get fed up with the boss’s son-in-law getting in the way.
Kushner’s machinations are also threatening to deprive the administration of the best expert around who’s still willing to work with them.
Sources say that Trump is leaning toward telling at least some Americans to return to work after the 15-day social-distancing period ends on March 31. This puts Trump on a potential collision course with Fauci that many fear will end with Fauci being fired or quitting.
The last sentence in the article says it all:
Behind the bluster, [Trump’s] hamstrung. “He can’t make any big decisions,” a former West Wing official said. “He knows once you do, you can’t go back.”
And by the way, individual governors and other local officials are the ones who issued shelter-in-place orders, and Trump has no authority to life them. He can tell his base to go back to work, and they will probably listen (thus putting themselves and everyone around them at more risk). He can bluster, bully, and threaten the governors, but they (both Dem and Rep) will respond that they are saving lives and he’s trying to put lives at risk. Not going to sell well, especially when the governor of New York speaks out.
According to sources, Trump has been jealous that Cuomo’s press briefings have gotten such positive reviews. “He’s said Cuomo looks good,” a Republican briefed on internal conversations said. Trump’s solution has been to put on his own show. “Trump wants to play press secretary,” a former West Wing official said.
If he hates Cuomo now, wait till Cuomo calls Trump out on lifting the quarantine against medical advice.
I’ve been Dan K for a long time here, but I went away while I was in the Peace Corps (Kenya) and then while I was working as a Foreign Service Officer. But that’s all behind me now.