Recently released recordings reveal that in an April 18 interview by CBS journalist Bob Woodward, Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, declared that President Donald Trump had seized control of the country “back from the doctors,” amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Kushner made the remarks about Trump’s effort to re-open the economy amid a severe economic recession, which economists projected would ultimately manifest into conditions worse than the Great Depression.
During the interview, Kushner told Woodward that there were three phases – the “panic phase,” the “pain phase” and the “comeback phase.”
Kushner told Woodward that “Trump’s now back in charge. It’s not the doctors. They’ve kind of – we have, like, negotiated a settlement,” alluding to Trump’s swift measures to re-open the economy and fully return to normal.
Kushner added, “I do believe that ‘last night’ symbolized kind of the beginning of the comeback phase. That doesn’t mean there’s not still a lot of pain, and there won’t be pain for a while, but that basically was, we’ve now put out rules to get back to work.”
The interview was recorded almost immediately after the White House had released guidelines for re-opening the economy in the “Opening Up America Again” document.
Trump had announced at an April 17 coronavirus task force briefing, which occurred a night before the interview, that he was seeding off several coronavirus responsibilities to governors.
Trump had also tweeted that night, “LIBERATE MICHIGAN,” “LIBERATE MINNESOTA” and “LIBERATE VIRGINIA,” an attack on the stay-at-home orders by those states’ governors.
Kushner’s remarks reveal the Trump administration’s change in approach to doctors’ recommendations recently despite Trump’s deference to health experts like Dr.Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx at the start of the pandemic.