Jared Kushner Reportedly Running ‘Shadow Task Force’ Inside White House to Deal with Coronavirus
Presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner has built out his own “shadow task force” of administration officials to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, which has at times sowed confusion and blurred the lines of responsibility from Vice President Mike Pence, the official head of the White House task force.
According to reporting in the Washington Post, Kushner’s arrival last week to the task force has since been focused on accelerating the establishment of drive-thru testing stations. The glacial rate of testing for infections has plagued the administration’s initial response and
But Kushner’s unique status within the White House has lent his requests an air of additional authority, and suggested that they could override other priorities.
“Kushner’s team is causing confusion among many officials involved in the response, who say they are unsure who is in charge given Kushner’s dual role as senior adviser and Trump family member,” the Post reported. “Some have privately dubbed his team a ‘shadow task force’ whose requests they interpret as orders they must balance with regular response efforts.”
To staff his project, Kushner has sought out allies from within the federal government as well as numerous private companies. These people often have no official capacity in the coronavirus task force but have nonetheless been participating in high-level conference calls and emailing government employees
Kushner’s ad-hoc role running a parallel advisory group on the coronavirus outbreak evokes the shadow foreign policy that longtime Trump confidante, Rudy Giuliani, ran on Ukraine, which ultimately led to the president’s impeachment.
“Several people involved in the response said the involvement of outside advisers — who are emailing large groups of government employees from private email addresses — also raises legitimate security concerns about whether these advisers are following proper government protocols,” the Post notes.
Kushner defended the broad, public-private nature of his team, telling the paper that he’s bringing “an entrepreneurial approach” to dealing with the pandemic.
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