Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
Updated 1624 GMT (0024 HKT) April 4, 2020
CNN)As the coronavirus task force gathered for their now-daily press briefing, a familiar figure joined them on stage: President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.
“Today you’re going hear from Jared Kushner, senior adviser to the President of the United States, but someone that the White House Coronavirus Task Force directed to work with FEMA on supply chain issues,” explained Vice President Mike Pence. “And in recent weeks, he has been leading a working group, in conjunction with FEMA, that literally has identified millions of medical supplies around the nation and around the world. And we’re grateful for his efforts and his leadership.”
Kushner, it would appear, has insinuated himself into a prominent role in coordinating the administration’s coronavirus response despite no obvious qualifications — he isn’t a doctor, an infectious disease expert or someone who has run large organizations — for such a prominent role.
As The New York Times put it in a piece on Kushner Friday:
“Because of his unique status, he has made himself the point of contact for many agency officials who know that he can force action and issue decisions without going to the president. But while Mr. Kushner and his allies say that he has brought more order to the process, the government’s response remains fragmented and behind the curve.”
This — a powerful yet amorphous role in which he carries special status due to being married to President Trump’s eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump — is familiar territory for Kushner.
In the early days of Trump’s presidency, Kushner was dubbed the “Secretary of Everything” because it seemed as though he, literally, had a hand in every single White House pot. Kushner’s portfolio included, among many other things: Managing the US-China relationship, overseeing Middle East peace negotiations, strengthening the US’s relationship with Mexico, running a task force to push innovation in government and oversee the administration’s efforts at criminal justice reform.