Of all the Trump administration officials tasked with responding to the coronavirus, Jared Kushner has not appeared at any of President Trump’s press briefings. As POLITICO points out, Kushner’s push to utilize the private sector to fix early testing failures is creating concern among some health-agency officials who think Trump may be deferring to Kushner over more seasoned experts, despite the potential conflicts of interest that arise.
“Kushner has relied on select officials, including his one-time former roommate and current U.S. foreign investment czar Adam Boehler, and Brad Smith, the head of Medicare’s innovation center, to organize and manage key projects — bypassing the bureaucratic structures and internal rivalries that slowed progress in the response’s early months,” writes POLITICO’s Adam Cancryn and Dan Diamond.
The limited vetting of private companies and the financial interests of executives have raised concerns, but officials working alongside Kushner insist that all ethics are being taken into consideration. But the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) isn’t entirely convinced.
“They’re not necessarily doing something nefarious, but if they were, this is what they would do to hide it,” CREW spokesperson Jordan Libowitz told POLITICO.
Even some recruited to aid Kushner’s effort have expressed reservations.
“I don’t know how our government operates anymore,” one Republican close to the administration told POLITICO, adding that the sudden authority granted to private sector groups left them with their “eyebrow raised unbelievably high.”
Read the full report over at POLITICO.