Donald Trump and Jared Kushner

Donald Trump Reportedly Advised By Jared Kushner That The Media ‘Exaggerated’ Coronavirus Threat

Kristine Lofgren - Author
By

Mar. 17 2020, Updated 1:11 p.m. ET

Jared Kushner was reportedly instrumental in advising President Donald Trump that the coronavirus outbreak was an exaggeration by the media. According to a new report from The New York Times, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser also sought a larger role in dealing with the outbreak despite a “lack of knowledge” on the topic.

Early on in the growing COVID-19 crisis, Trump faced backlash from critics who said that his response to the spread of the novel coronavirus was too muted. Trump repeatedly advised people that the virus would fade away on its own and downplayed the threat from the disease. He repeatedly slammed the media, calling coverage of the pandemic “fake news.”

Now, the Times reveals part of that response may have been driven by Kushner.

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“Mr. Kushner’s early involvement with dealing with the virus was in advising the president that the media’s coverage exaggerated the threat,” the Times reports.

Later, when Trump appointed Vice President Mike Pence to lead the response to the coronavirus, Kushner stepped in to attempt to install his own people in the task force, including former White House communications director Hope Hicks, who is now working as Kushner’s aide.

Originally, Trump allegedly considered Chris Christie to head the White House response team, but Kusher pushed for Pence instead. In the past, Kushner has worked to keep Christie out of the Trump administration after the former New Jersey governor put his father, Charles Kushner, behind bars.

“But when Mr. Pence’s chief of staff asked him to help merge the Pence and Trump communications operations because the two-person shop in the vice president’s office found itself overwhelmed and trying to keep up, Mr. Kushner, long critical of the White House communications shop, tried to supplement the vice president’s team with other aides,” the Times ads.

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As the crisis began to unfold, Kushner purportedly “sought to take on a more expansive role for himself despite his lack of knowledge on the topic and without talking to most of the task force members or public health experts,” according to the Times.

Kushner was reportedly one of the individuals pushing the president to move forward with a ban on travel from Europe. He also advised Trump to declare a national emergency, which critics say should have taken place much earlier than it did.

The Times also says that Kushner was a part of the effort to reveal plans for a national website to inform citizens about the coronavirus – plans which didn’t exist at the time – catching Google off guard with the announcement. He was also part of the president’s recent Oval Office address, which addressed the European travel ban and other precautionary measures, but confused many due to several incorrect details.

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