Jared Kushner, much like his father-in-law President Donald Trump, wants the American people to believe that the administration’s response to the coronavirus has been stellar so far, in spite of the fact that tens of thousands have died of the disease within the United States.
Appearing on “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday, Kushner portrayed the White House’s response to the pandemic in a positive light, and suggested that the narrative needed to be repeated more often.
“The federal government rose to the challenge and this is a great success story, and I think that that’s really what needs to be told,” Kushner explained on the Fox News morning program.
The president’s son-in-law, who also serves as a senior adviser to Trump, added that he believed the economy would be repaired by the end of this summer, detailing a timeline of what he thinks will happen over the next few months.
“May will be a transition month … I think you will see by June, a lot of the country should be back to normal, and the hope is that by July the country is really rocking again,” Kushner said.
Jared Kushner thinks it’s a great success story that over 55k Americans have died from the Coronavirus. The cruelty is staggering. pic.twitter.com/AePzs3fr3y
— Sunny Hostin (@sunny) April 29, 2020
It’s unclear how things could be “rocking again” in the eyes of many who have been affected by this disease, however, especially given how devastating a toll COVID-19 has already had on the country.
As of 10 am Eastern Time, there have been more than 1.06 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 identified in the U.S. Additionally, 61,734 Americans have died from the disease so far.
Kushner is not alone, however, in redefining what “success” during this pandemic should look like. Trump himself has been consistent in saying his administration has been doing a “good job” — using that phrase on separate occasions to describe how well he had done when there were zero deaths counted, as well as how successful he would be if the administration’s efforts were able to allow just 100,000 Americans to die.
On February 26, when there were just 15 documented cases in the U.S., Trump predicted that number would diminish within a matter of days — and credited his administration for that outcome, which never arrived as he promised it would.
“When you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done,” Trump said at the time.
A few weeks later, the president changed his standard for success again — this time, implying he would do better than former President Barack Obama did when he dealt with the H1N1 Swine Flu pandemic in 2009. Trump argued the response by his predecessor was a “catastrophe” because 17,000 individuals had died, he wrote in a tweet last month.
Trump’s numbers were off, however, overstating how many had died in that crisis by more than 25 percent. But as it became clear that the number who would die from COVID-19 would be significantly higher (even with the errant numbers cited), Trump changed his standard once more.
When estimation models began to suggest that 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from COVID-19, Trump said that keeping to those numbers was itself a success. Had he done nothing, he explained, it could have been millions who would have died.
“And so, if we could hold that down, as we’re saying, to 100,000 – it’s a horrible number, maybe even less, but to 100,000, so we have between 100 [thousand] and 200,000 – we altogether have done a very good job,” Trump said at the end of March.
Due to inconsistent statements like these, it’s not quite clear what the barometer of success might be for this White House. The only consistent thing that can be observed from comments by Kushner and Trump, as well as from others in the administration, is that no matter what the outcome may be, chances are high they will be described as successful, even if the American people judge Trump’s actions on the issue in a less-than-favorable light.
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