Interesting revelations are coming from Bob Woodward, who conducted 2 interviews with Jared Kushner during his time in the White House while writing “Rage”
Basically, it boils down to this. Initially the White House did recognize how serious the pandemic was and Kushner actually came up with a plan similar to most Western Democracies involving coordinated and federalized testing and tracing, containment strategies and leading the way.
But due to the coronavirus hitting Blue States, primarily, this was scrapped for the 3 phase strategy, Panic, Pain and Reopening.
The first two phases would be handed off to Governors, including procuring testing materials, with the Federal government only providing assistance but never leadership in contact tracing or testing. No plans were made to using the DPA to create PPE or testing supplies here.
That way, the panic and pain would be shifted to Governors, who were poorly suited to the task, they saw this as a possible advantage for the GOP. Kushner famously said…
"New Yorkers are going to suffer and that’s their problem”
Instead, Trump would only own one phase, the reopening.
While Kushner said Trump would own the economic message of the opening, individual states would bear the public-health burden and have to “own the testing. The federal government should not own the testing. And the federal government should not own kind of the rules.”
He saw Trump as being kind of the cheerleader for the economy, and insisted that he always had to push for more to get open and to keep downplaying the pandemic in order for businesses to have confidence in rehiring people.
“We’ve now put out rules to get back to work. Trump’s now back in charge. It’s not the doctors.” Kushner continued to describe the move in adversarial terms. “We have, like, a negotiated settlement.”
“So if you basically say this is coming back in the fall, don’t gear up, then people won’t rehire, people will stay unemployed.” He added, “If you’re planning for the worst-case scenario, that will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. One of the things that the president’s great at is he’s a cheerleader. He’s trying to make people feel good about the outcome.”
Basically, Trump only wanted to own the opening.
“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 explained in his April 18 interview. “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 we set out or not?”
I always sort of suspected this was the case, but it is sobering to see in print and hear with his own words on tape. Shameful stuff.