Attendees are still angry over Jared Kushner's reaction to their offers to help fight the coronavirus in the earliest stages of the pandemic.
President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior White House adviser refused to initiate a federal response during the March 21 meeting, insisting the free market and states should take care of distributing medical equipment, reported Vanity Fair.
“We had so much potential to commandeer against this,” one person who attended the meeting told the magazine. “We had a real system for contact tracing, the world’s best mobile engineers on standby. There was a real opportunity to have a coordinated response.”
Business representatives pledged to make the badly needed equipment if the government promised to purchase it through the Defense Production Act, but some attendees suspected Kushner didn't care about the pandemic because it was largely affecting Democratic states at that time.
“At the time I just thought of it as blind capitalism and extreme libertarian ideals gone wrong,” said one attendee, who remains angry about the government's inaction. “In hindsight it’s not crazy to think it was some purposeful belief that it was okay if Cuomo had a tough go of it because [New York] was a blue state.”
Another attendee told Vanity Fair it seemed "very clear" that Kushner lacked a sense of urgency because the virus was hitting blue states the hardest.
“We were flabbergasted.," that person said. "I basically had an out-of-body experience: Where am I, and what happened to America?”