Jared Kushner Defends Dr. Fauci After Fox News Host Criticises Top Coronavirus Task Force Expert

White House adviser Jared Kushner defended Dr. Anthony Fauci on Fox News last night, telling a host on the network that he had been a "little tough" on the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director.

President Donald Trump's son-in-law said Dr. Fauci had done a "great job" of helping the administration piece together its guidelines for reopening the U.S. economy earlier this month.

Speaking to Fox News host Steve Hilton, Kushner also praised the reopening plans for highlighting the need for states to "develop a plan to protect the vulnerable" when they do decide to relax coronavirus lockdown measures.

In an opening monologue on The Next Revolution last night, Hilton said: "Last week we set out questions for Dr. Fauci. He may not care about being accountable to you, but our state and local leaders do listen to him. He's the one that started this nonsense, still using an old playbook even though facts have changed.

"I beg you Dr. Fauci, tell the governors, tell the mayors how to protect the vulnerable in our nursing homes who are dying in droves because of inadequate infection control."

White House Adviser Jared Kushner
Jared Kushner looks on during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in the Brady Briefing Room at the White House on April 2, 2020, in Washington, DC. Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The Fox News host went on to argue that the "mindset of shutdown zealots" was contrary to science, and added: "Instead of adapting their thinking in light of new information, they cling to their old position despite new information."

Hilton leveled his criticism at Dr. Fauci six days after he published four questions for the NIAID director that suggested it was "unnecessary and impractical" to isolate and contact trace those who have the novel coronavirus.

Appearing later in the show, Kushner defended the White House coronavirus task force's lead infectious disease expert.

"I saw in the beginning of the show you were a little tough on Dr. Fauci," Kushner said. "But Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx did a great job of putting together the president's guidelines to reopen. They worked with the vice president and the task force to do that."

The president's son-in-law added: "It specifically highlights that each state should develop a plan to protect the vulnerable. The federal government is going to be doing things with surveillance of asymptomatic.

"We'll be sending PPE to nursing homes and we're working with a lot of the governors who recognize the disproportionate that the older and the more vulnerable have."

Newsweek has contacted the NIAID for further comment and will update this article with any response.

Kushner issued his defense of Dr. Fauci after President Trump retweeted a post using the #FireFauci hashtag earlier this month, sparking speculation about the NIAID director's future in office.

Seeking to put speculation to bed at the time, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said: "Dr. Fauci has been and remains a trusted advisor to President Trump."

He went on to call "media chatter" about the president's retweet "ridiculous" as he clarified that there were no plans to fire the coronavirus task force's top expert on infectious diseases.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html)
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.