Jared Kushner, Facing Backlash Over His Role in the Pandemic Response, Gets Unexpected Praise From de Blasio

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio gave a rare special thanks to Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law, by name on Friday for his efforts amid the coronavirus outbreak as the senior presidential adviser continues to face backlash over his role in the administration's pandemic response.

"I want to give a special thanks to the President and to Jared Kushner," de Blasio said during a coronavirus update on Friday that was broadcast live on cable news, "they told me yesterday that they would get 200,000 N95 masks to our public hospital system."

De Blasio explained that Trump and Kushner told him during a phone call on Thursday that they would "produce these things immediately," and within 24 hours "they had been delivered."

"That's going to really help us get through a lot of the month of April and I am very thankful for that," he said.

The New York City mayor also thanked Facebook, Ford, American Express, Louis Vuitton and Qatar for donating tens of thousands of masks to the city. "This really adds up," he said.

Kushner
Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner (L) speaks, flanked by US President Donald Trump, 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/Getty

De Blasio's remarks came one day after Kushner spoke at Thursday's coronavirus task force briefing.

Kushner addressed the country's ventilator shortage by criticizing state governors for allegedly not having a handle on their own medical supplies. "The states should know how many ventilators are in their states and by the way, some governors you speak to, or senators, they don't know what's in their state," he said. "Some governors I'll speak to and they'll know to the number how many ventilators they have in their state because that's the first thing a good manager will do."

Kushner, a former real estate developer who has no public health expertise, asked state leaders to look elsewhere first, before asking the federal government for assistance.

"What a lot of the voters are seeing now is that when you elect somebody to be a mayor or governor or president, you're trying to think about who will be a competent manager during the time of crisis," he said. "This is a time of crisis, and you're seeing certain people are better managers than others."

Critics have questioned why the president's son-in-law, who typically advises Trump behind the scenes, was even present at the briefing and his role in the administration amid the pandemic. In recent weeks, Kushner has been working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to manage the provision of medical equipment to domestic hospitals. His work with the agency has drawn scrutiny from critics that say he's too inexperienced for the job.

During his remarks on Thursday, Kushner claimed that "the notion of the federal stockpile was it's supposed to be our stockpile, it's not supposed to be state stockpiles that they then use."

"I would dismiss what Mr. Kushner said," Democratic Kansas Governor Laura Kelly told NPR. "That is absolutely not the way it is supposed to work."

Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado also questioned Kushner's comment on the federal stockpile. "I don't know what Kushner was talking about, what he meant," Gardner told Politico, adding that "the stockpile is for the country."

Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment.

Jared Kushner, Facing Backlash Over His Role in the Pandemic Response, Gets Unexpected Praise From de Blasio | U.S.