President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser — who has zero expertise in infectious diseases and little experience marshaling the full bureaucracy behind a cause — saw the administration floundering and inserted himself at the helm, believing he could break the logjam of internal dysfunction…
Kushner entered into a crisis management process that, despite the triumphant and self-congratulatory tone of public briefings, was as haphazard and helter-skelter as the chaotic early days of Trump’s presidency — turning into something of a family-and-friends pandemic response operation.
The administration’s struggle to mitigate the coronavirus outbreak has been marked by infighting and blame-shifting, misinformation and missteps, and a slow recognition of the danger. Warring factions have wrestled for control internally and for approval from a president who has been preoccupied with the beating his image is taking.
The scramble for solutions is occurring in an overriding atmosphere of trepidation of saying something that Trump might perceive as disloyal and of fear that their fumbles could cost the president his reelection in November.
“The problem is no one is sure who is in charge,” a senior administration official said. “Unless someone comes to you and says, ‘I was with the president five minutes ago,’ and you know they’re telling the truth, getting irreversible direction is a little difficult.”