Trump Replaced White House Pandemic-Response Team With Jared Kushner - 2020-04-02
At his coronavirus press briefing yesterday, Fox News correspondent John Roberts asked President Trump about his 2018 decision to eliminate the National Security Council's pandemic-response office. Trump lashed out, "You know that's a false story, what you just said is a false story … You shouldn't be repeating a story you know is false," accusing Roberts of "working for CNN." (The charge of committing legitimate journalism is the most serious Trump could think to hurl at a Fox News employee.)
The story is not false. Trump did eliminate the job of coordinating a national pandemic response. And the strongest evidence of the damage he did is that this job is now being performed by Jared Kushner.
In May 2018, the top White House official who was focused on pandemic response departed the White House. "The top White House official responsible for leading the U.S. response in the event of a deadly pandemic has left the administration, and the global health security team he oversaw has been disbanded," reported the Washington Post at the time. Trump and his allies — including then-NSC director John Bolton, who undertook the ill-fated move — have since tried to muddy the waters about these moves, emphasizing the fact that they merely reorganized the National Security Council rather than bluntly firing everybody involved in pandemic response.