Kushner Nixed National Testing Strategy Because he Thought Covid-19 Would Only Ravage Dem States

A troubling Vanity Fair report says that at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner cobbled together a team which actually managed to come up with a decent national testing strategy for covid-19. Shockingly however, instead of the plan being rapidly deployed nationwide to curb the spread of the deadly virus, Kushner and some White House political operatives decided it would be politically advantageous for Trump, if they shelved the testing plan because the virus at that time was only ravaging blue/Democratic states like New York.

As unbelievable as this sounds, Kushner and the White House operatives believed it would be politically advantageous for Trump if they let people die in blue/Democratic states because they could turn around and blame Democratic Governors for incompetence in the run up to the November elections. The author of the Vanity Fair piece, Katherine Eban, told CNN’s Erin Burnett;“There was a shared feeling which turned out to be spectacularly wrong, that the virus was receding, it was going to be under control, and at the time it was just the blue states where the virus was surging. So the idea was, why go through all the effort to surge up a national plan? It wasn’t going to have political resonance, and if there was a political response that was needed, the blue state Governors could just be blamed..”

You’ll remember a recent Washington Post piece which said Trump, who had previously downplayed the seriousness of covid-19, even calling it a hoax at one point, changed his attitude towards the deadly virus only after senior White House officials presented him with data and maps showing that the virus is beginning to ravage “our people”–Trump’s base of rural White voters in Republican states. This means Trump’s bungled covid-19 response, which has led to more than 150,000 deaths so far and counting, is not only the result of a callous political decision by his son-in -law Kushner, but also the administration’s deep seated racism towards communities of color who Trump considers not “our people”, and who data has consistently shown to disproportionately bear the brunt of covid-19, both in infection rates and deaths. A sad state of affairs indeed.

Bottom line folks, as it currently stands, the coronavirus pandemic is arguably one of the biggest crisis ever to befall the United States, especially if you consider the fact that it has claimed more than 150,000 lives in the U.S. in less than six months, led to levels of unemployment most of us have never witnessed in our lifetimes, dealt a severe blow to the U.S. economy leaving economic giants such as the airline industry teetering on the brink of collapse, changed the manner and format of our beloved professional sports leagues, just to mention but a few. Reasonable people will agree that given the seriousness of covid-19, the American public is totally justified in expecting that the Trump administration, without regard to partisan politics or race, will spare no resources, and do everything in it’s power to fight the deadly coronavirus pandemic. Sadly, the Vanity Fair piece saying Kushner shelved a covid-19 national testing strategy for political reasons, and the Washington Post piece saying Trump has not been serious about the pandemic because it’s not ravaging “our people”, prove beyond any reasonable doubt that partisan politics and racism are guiding Trump administration’s covid-19 response. All Americans of good conscience must loudly rebuke this immoral and callous disregard for people’s lives. We owe that to the families of the 150,000-plus people who have needlessly succumbed to covid-19.

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Gov Reynolds Says Iowans Must Return To Work Or Lose Unemployment Benefits

Iowa Gov Kim Reynolds(R) with President Trump

As the push by Republican Governors to lift covid-19 stay-at-home orders and “reopen” America for business intensifies, an interesting theme is emerging as the reasoning behind their hasty and quite frankly, reckless move. There is no question that covid-19 testing rates in the U.S. are nowhere near the levels that would justify safely reopening the states for business at this juncture. Texas in particular, is notoriously lagged behind in testing yet Governor Greg Abbott has slated this Friday(May 1), as the day many businesses in the states are authorized to reopen.

So what is the reason behind this hasty “reopen America” move by Gov Abbott, Reynolds, and other Republican Governors across the U.S.? The answer to this question lies in the national embarrassment the unemployment programs in these states have subjected these Republican governors to. Florida’s unemployment program in particular has become such a national embarrassment following widespread media reports, that Governor Ron DeSantis was not only forced to confess that it is broken, but also issued an executive order relaxing some of the requirements for workers to qualify for benefits.

Unflattering media reports about the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) which handles unemployment claims in Texas have also been a constant source of embarrassment for Gov. Greg Abbott. The same story has played out in other Republican-controlled states including Iowa. Simply put, contrary to popular belief, covid-19 did not break these state unemployment programs. These programs have been broken for years, thanks to GOP’s anti-worker’s rights policies. Covid-19 simply exposed on a grand scale, the unemployment insurance sham in GOP-controlled states.

Well, it appears Republican Governors have settled on the “reopen America” push as a way of dealing with the unemployment insurance embarrassment. By hastily reopening businesses in their states, GOP Governors can technically force workers to return to work because refusal by the workers to do so will amount to quitting, which in turn disqualifies them from unemployment benefits. This is especially cruel and insensitive to minorities especially Blacks and Hispanics, who have a valid reason to fear returning to work before covid-19 testing rates are ramped up to a level that will reassure them that it is safe for them to do so. GOP Governors don’t seem to care about the plight of vulnerable minority populations validly fearful of covid-19 and appear hell bent instead, on blackmailing them back to work by threatening them with losing their unemployment benefits. This is precisely what Gov Kim Reynolds just did.

Gov Kim Reynolds specifically said, “If you are an employer and you offer to bring your employee back to work and they decide not to that’s a voluntary quit, and so therefore they will not be eligible for unemployment benefits.” Make no mistake about it folks, this is an “order” by Gov Reynolds and other GOP Governors to employers in their states to call back workers so as to forcibly take them off the unemployment rolls–essentially cruelly forcing people back to work regardless of their valid covid-19 fears. There is no effort being made by Gov Reynolds and others to fix the numerous problems covid-19 has exposed with the state unemployment programs. Forcing vulnerable people back to work appears to be the GOP Governors’ way out of the problem.

Bottom line folks, covid-19 has exposed some serious problems with the state unemployment programs, especially the ones in Florida and Texas. It is imperative that the mainstream media and members of Congress call for changes to these woefully broken state unemployment programs. Simply put, Governors Reynolds, Abbott, DeSantis and others must not be allowed to sweep these unemployment insurance problems under the rug simply by forcing their residents to go back to work. The GOP Governors must be forced to address the reasons why these programs are broken in the first place.

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Texas Dog Trainer Now Leads Covid-19 Task Force

Former Dallas Dog Breeder Brian Harrison now leading the nation’s covid-19 response

In case you missed it, there was a stunning revelation on MSNBC’s AM Joy show that the Trump administration has chosen a former Dallas area dog breeder Brian Harrison who has zero background in medicine or public health, to lead the nation’s coronavirus task force. The Trump administration apparently chose Harrison to replace outgoing Dr Rick Bright, a career vaccine expert who took a cautionary stance towards Trump’s favorite drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for covid-19. Because the vaccine expert refused to follow Trump’s blind push for hydroxychloroquine as covid-19 treatment, he was pushed aside and has been replaced by Harrison, a former dog breeder.

Host Joy Reid specifically said, “Dr Bright is a career vaccine expert and similar to an increasingly silent Dr Fauci, he insisted on sticking to the science and he seems to be the polar opposite of the guy now heading the administration’s coronavirus task force, Brian Harrison. He[Harrison] is a Health and Human Services[HHS] aide who for six years ran Dallas Labradoodles–no that is not code for some Texas antiviral operation meant to save lives–instead, it’s exactly what it sounds like. The new HHS leader of the covid-19 response does not have a formal background in medicine or public health but instead, was a dog trainer. This isn’t just cronyism over normal politics, this is cronyism over saving lives.”

Even the staunchest of President Trump’s supporters will agree that for a global pandemic that has already claimed 50,000 lives in the U.S., it is not a lot to ask that the person chosen to lead the administration’s response be someone with a background in medicine or public health. That person is definitely not Brian Harrison who appears to be per AM Joy’s reporting, a political crony.

It also bears pointing out that at a recent press conference in Austin, Texas, Governor Greg Abbott said a major reason why he decided to reopen the state for business despite the state’s lagging covid-19 testing numbers was because he had been assured by Trump’s coronavirus task force that Texas would be provided with all the testing supplies it needed. One can reasonably infer given this new development that the assurances the Texas Governor was referring to probably came from former Dallas dog breeder Brian Harrison.

Bottom line folks, incompetence has been a recurring theme surrounding Trump administration’s coronavirus response whether that be from the serious foot dragging we are witnessing with the testing, the numerous contradictory statements the administration issues to the public regarding safe practices, etc. Where, as here, the Trump administration settles on a dog trainer with zero background in medicine or public health to head the nation’s coronavirus task force, the public has every right to assume that the administration is not taking the threat posed by covid-19 seriously, even after it has claimed the lives of 50,000 Americans. As Joy Reid correctly stated, this is not just incompetence, this is deadly incompetence.

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You may reach the author via email at author@grassrootsdempolitics.com or author@emolumentsclause.com