Maureen Dowd on George W., Trump, Kushner and Coronavirus!

Jared Kushner at a White House briefing on the response to the Covid-19 crisis on 2 April.

Dear Commons Community,

Maureen Dowd gives it to President Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in her column this morning entitled, He Went to Jared, with a subtitle, “Heaven help us, we’re at the mercy of the Slim Suit crowd.”  She starts off by comparing Trump’s response to coronavirus to George W. Bush’s response to Hurricane Katrina. In both cases, their leadership is and was questioned, to put it mildly.  However, she saves her sharpest cuts for Kushner.  Here is an excerpt.

“…The president seems oblivious to the fact that his own clown car of an administration bungled the priceless lead time we had to get ready for the pandemic.

With the death toll in this country soaring past 7,000, Trump is focused on the same thing he is always focused on: himself. He proudly told reporters Wednesday, “Did you know I was No. 1 on Facebook? I just found out I was No. 1 on Facebook. I thought that was very nice for whatever it means.” Our doom, perhaps?

Trump’s most defining qualities have been on display in this fight: He has been mercurial, vindictive, deceptive, narcissistic, blame-shifting and nepotistic.

At the Thursday briefing, the president brought out another wealthy, uninformed man-child who loves to play boss: Jared Kushner. Where’s our Mideast peace deal, dude? Surely Trump did not think giving Kushner a lead role would inspire confidence. This is the very same adviser who told his father-in-law early on that the virus was being overplayed by the press and also urged him to tout a Google website guiding people to testing sites that turned out to be, um, still under construction.

Now he is leading a group, mocked within the government as “the Slim Suit crowd,” that is providing one more layer of confusion — and inane consultant argot — to the laggardly, disorganized response.

From the lectern, Kushner drilled down on his role as the annoying, spoiled kid in every teen movie ever made. “And the notion of the federal stockpile was, it’s supposed to be our stockpile,” he said. “It’s not supposed to be the states’ stockpiles that they then use.”

Our stockpile?

That’s the way the Trump-Kushner dynasty has approached this whole presidency, conflating what belongs to the people with what is theirs. Trump acts like he has the right to dole out “favors,” based on which governor is most assiduous about kissing up to him.

On Friday, the administration changed the wording on the Department of Health and Human Services website about the stockpile to be matchy-matchy with Kushner’s cavalier dismissal of the states.

It was typical of Trump’s muddled message that on Friday, as the C.D.C. issued new guidelines to wear masks, the president said: “You can wear ’em. You don’t have to wear ’em,” adding he had no intention of wearing one because “Somehow, sitting in the Oval Office behind that beautiful Resolute desk, the great Resolute desk, I think wearing a face mask” did not gel with his image of greeting “prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens, I don’t know somehow, I don’t see it for myself.”

Trump’s eyes may not have the same fearful look that W.’s did. But ours do.”

Dowd refers to Kusher as a “slim suit.”  I would go a step further, he is an “empty suit.”



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