In a wide-ranging interview with White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer pressed the president’s son-in-law over the Trump campaign’s recent indoor rally and the maskless, Middle East signing event at the White House on Tuesday.
Trump held an indoor rally on Sunday night in Henderson, Nevada, expressing violating the state’s Covid public health guidelines, leading multiple pundits to blast the move as tantamount to “negligent homicide.” And then the Trump White House did not require mask-wearing or social distancing at its historic signing of normalization treaties between Israel in the Persian Gulf nations of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
Blitzer cited that latter event and pressed Kushner on the decision-making behind it.
“Why does the White House and the Trump campaign refuse to follow the administration’s own health guidelines?” the CNN host asked.
“All the clips you were showing of people without masks were people who were in the front rows. Those were administration officials who were tested,” Kushner said, before throwing in a subtle dig at the network oft targeted by his father-in-law. “The invitation encouraged people to wear masks. I had some friends who didn’t come to the event because they feel like they have comorbidities and they didn’t want to put themselves at risk. We’re six months into this, people can take the appropriate measures. And I think when I was watching it I was happy at least that CNN was covering a Trump accomplishment. So, I didn’t mind that you were showing the clips of people out there.”
“But don’t you think, Jared, that the president and the top advisers to the president should set an example for the American public?” Blitzer said, pushing back.
“Again, we’ve been holding our rallies outdoors, by and large,” said Kushner, who then tried to blame the Democratic governor of Nevada for the campaign’s much criticized Sunday rally. “We had one where several outdoor venues were forbidden to us by the governor. So that one was forced to go indoors.”
“But, again, at the end of the day in America, we still have to figure out how to live our lives,” Kushner insisted. “We’re not going to all lock ourselves in our home because of the pandemic. I think we know a lot more today. We know who’s at risk. We know how to mitigate the risk and we’re all going to act accordingly.”
Blitzer then noted that national death toll from the coronavirus nears 200,000, and that the latest IHME projection estimates the fatalities will grow beyond 400,000 by year’s end.
“Once again, the president sets an example for the American public. Don’t you think to save lives he should be doing more as an example?” Blitzer reiterated.
“So what we’ve seen now is I think mortality’s at about 30% on a daily basis of what it was at its peak,” Kushner cooly responded.
“A thousand Americans a day are dying, Jared.”
“I think the number’s about 700 this week. Which is down from 2,200,” Kushner said, before evoking Trump’s claim to Bob Woodward that nothing more could’ve been done in fighting the pandemic. “At the end of the day we’re doing everything possible. We’ve just sent tests to nursing homes. You have a lot of governors who are running their states in different ways. We are doing everything we can to make supplies available and make information available.”
“Lockdowns kill people too,” Kushner then added, moments later.
“I think it’s still very worrisome to see all those folks so close together even if they’re outside not wearing masks,” Blitzer said.
“I will say, Wolf, I didn’t hear you and CNN being that worried when you saw people out their doing protests in different ways,” Kushner said, throwing in another bit of media criticism while not addressing the CNN host’s point.
“We were plenty worried about that, as well,” Blitzer responded.
Watch the video above, via CNN.
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