Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner has repeatedly instructed President Donald Trump not to ramp up testing for the novel coronavirus or order large quantities of supplies such as ventilators in order to keep investors on Wall Street from panicking and driving the stock market down, according to a shocking new report from the Financial Times:
“‘Jared [Kushner] had been arguing that testing too many people, or ordering too many ventilators, would spook the markets and so we just shouldn’t do it,’ says a Trump confidant who speaks to the president frequently. ‘That advice worked far more powerfully on him than what the scientists were saying. He thinks they always exaggerate.'”
As recently as May 7, the president himself told reporters that too much testing might portray the United States in a negative light compared with other nations:
“So the media likes to say we have the most cases, but we do, by far, the most testing. If we did very little testing, we wouldn’t have the most cases. So, in a way, by doing all of this testing, we make ourselves look bad.”
The report from the Times raises the issue that Trump — guided by top aides — has deliberately been less aggressive in fighting COVID-19 because he didn’t want to the market to dip any further than it already has. However, his recalcitrance may have cost thousands more lives. The U.S. death toll stands at nearly 87,000 as of this morning.
And while Trump may have mollified Wall Street investors, the administration has done next to nothing to solve the other major problem caused by the pandemic: Unemployment. At least 36 million Americans have lost their jobs since the pandemic reached the U.S.
GOP consultant Charlie Black noted that Trump has no choice but to focus on the economy as the November election draws closer:
“It is the economy or nothing. He can’t exactly run on his personality.”
But apparently he can run on the lives of nearly 100,000 Americans who are less important than the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Featured Image Via NBC News