Treating COVID-19 as a public-relations crisis put Trump at odds with the medical community, including the White House’s chief coronavirus adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci.
…Kushner, according to sources, encouraged Trump to treat the emergency as a P.R. problem when Fauci and others were calling for aggressive action.
…One source briefed on the internal conversations told me that Kushner advised Trump not to call a national emergency during his Oval Office address on March 11 because “it would tank the markets.” The markets cratered anyway, and Trump announced the national emergency on Friday.
…Trump was also said to be angry that Kushner oversold Google’s coronavirus testing website when in fact the tech giant had a fledgling effort. Trump got slammed in the press for promoting the phantom Google product.
…With coronavirus lurking on the property, about a hundred guests sipped cocktails by the pool at a 50th birthday party for Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend, former Fox News personality Kimberly Guilfoyle. RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel announced after attending the party that she was self-quarantining after experiencing flu-like symptoms. Another turning point was an intervention by Guilfoyle’s former colleague Tucker Carlson. A source who attended the party told me Carlson went to Mar-a-Lago to confront Trump directly about his failure to take the virus seriously.
…On Monday, Trump reportedly told governors they’re on their own. “Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment—try getting it yourselves,” Trump said on a conference call.
…Republicans fear a lockdown could compound the crisis if Trump is cooped up in the White House with nothing to watch but the news. “What’s he going to do, watch reruns of the Masters from 2017? He’s just going to watch TV and tweet and it’s going to get worse,” the former official said.