On Thursday, writing for The New York Times, columnist Michelle Goldberg laid into President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who appeared at the day’s coronavirus press conference to blame states for the federal government’s slow response.
“Reporting on the White House’s herky-jerky coronavirus response, Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman has a quotation from Jared Kushner that should make all Americans, and particularly all New Yorkers, dizzy with terror,” wrote Goldberg. “According to Sherman, when New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, said that the state would need 30,000 ventilators at the apex of the coronavirus outbreak, Kushner decided that Cuomo was being alarmist. ‘I have all this data about I.C.U. capacity,’ Kushner reportedly said. ‘I’m doing my own projections, and I’ve gotten a lot smarter about this. New York doesn’t need all the ventilators.'”
“Even now, it’s hard to believe that someone with as little expertise as Kushner could be so arrogant,” wrote Goldberg. “Kushner has succeeded at exactly three things in his life. He was born to the right parents, married well and learned how to influence his father-in-law. Most of his other endeavors — his biggest real estate deal, his foray into newspaper ownership, his attempt to broker a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians — have been failures.”
“The journalist Andrea Bernstein looked closely at Kushner’s business record for her recent book ‘American Oligarchs: The Kushners, the Trumps, and the Marriage of Money and Power,’ speaking to people on all sides of his real estate deals as well as those who worked with him at The New York Observer, the weekly newspaper he bought in 2006,” wrote Goldberg. “Kushner, Bernstein told me, ‘really sees himself as a disrupter.’ Again and again, she said, people who’d dealt with Kushner told her that whatever he did, he ‘believed he could do it better than anybody else, and he had supreme confidence in his own abilities and his own judgment even when he didn’t know what he was talking about.'”
“It’s hard to overstate the extent to which this confidence is unearned,” continued Goldberg. “Kushner was a reportedly mediocre student whose billionaire father appears to have bought him a place at Harvard. Taking over the family real estate company after his father was sent to prison, Kushner paid $1.8 billion — a record, at the time — for a Manhattan skyscraper at the very top of the real estate market in 2007. The debt from that project became a crushing burden for the family business. (Kushner was able to restructure the debt in 2011, and in 2018 the project was bailed out by a Canadian asset management company with links to the government of Qatar.) He gutted the once-great New York Observer, then made a failed attempt to create a national network of local politics websites.”
“On Thursday, Governor Cuomo said that New York will run out of ventilators in six days,” wrote Goldberg. “Perhaps Kushner’s projections were incorrect. ‘I don’t think the federal government is in a position to provide ventilators to the extent the nation may need them,’ Cuomo said. ‘Assume you are on your own in life.’ If not in life, certainly in this administration.”
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