A former employee of Jared Kushner, Elizabeth Spiers, penned a Washington Post op-ed on Friday that slams the White House senior adviser for his incompetent coronavirus response, a purported failure she calls “painfully familiar.”
“Kushner’s lack of experience and expertise has not been remedied in any way during his now three-plus years in the White House,” she wrote.
According to Spiers, Kushner has faced no consequences for his “string of failures” and instead has received credit from Donald Trump for his “imaginary successes.”
“This is basically Kushner’s modus operandi, and it’s painfully familiar to me because he was my boss when I was the editor in chief of the New York Observer, which he had bought when he was 25.”
Spiers continued to describe her time working for Kushner and what she called “self-aggrandizing nonsense” and an inability to consider others’ humanity.
“Relationships were primarily transactional, and this failure of empathy permeated everything he did,” she wrote.
Spiers said that Kushner’s inability to empathize with others and read their grief is evident in his handling of the COVID-19 response. She also claims the transactional way he approaches relationships is reflected in his view of the pandemic, which she says he perceives as an opportunity to “trade favors” as opposed to a “necessary and vital obligation” of the U.S. government.
American author Gabriel Sherman previously noted Kushner’s lack of empathy. Notably, Sherman spoke to a New York business executive who was shocked by Kushner’s blunt admission that he doesn’t care about using his position in the White House to help people.
Regardless, Spiers says Kushner is in good company at the White House and parallels his behavior and rhetoric of Trump, who she says echoes Kushner’s self-praise of the White House’s COVID-19 response.
“This bubble of delusion extends to the rest of the family, too,” she wrote, calling Ivanka Trump‘s government tenure “equally fruitless.”
Spiers also claimed that the failures of Kushner and Trump require adaptation from government officials. In particular, she pointed to Kushner’s incorrect statement that the national medical supply stockpile is supposed to belong to the federal government, not the states. Despite being wrong, Kushner’s announcement led to the alteration of the language on federal websites to accommodate his statement.
As noted by Sherman, Kushner stubbornly believes in his own judgment and allegedly failed to heed the warnings of former Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert, who urged him to take action to combat the coronavirus spread in its early stages.