As Coronavirus Death Toll Exceeds Vietnam War, Kushner Calls Response a “Great Success Story”

He also claimed that the US was “on the other side of this” crisis. Experts strongly disagree.

Kevin Dietsch/ZUMA

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The United States reached two grim milestones this week: more Americans have now been killed by the coronavirus than in the near two decades of US involvement in the Vietnam War. The number of infections blew through the one million mark, further cementing the country’s status as the world’s worst-hit by the outbreak.

But in Jared Kushner’s own words, “this is a great success story.” 

“We’re on the other side of the medical aspect of this,” the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser said during a Wednesday morning appearance on Fox & Friends. “I think that we’ve achieved all the different milestones that are needed. The federal government rose to the challenge, and this is a great success story.”

Kushner also mocked those worried that states were reopening too quickly—as an overwhelming number of Americans are—claiming that the “eternal lockdown crowd” has it wrong. “The reality is is that the data is on our side and President Trump has created a pathway to safely open up our country and make sure that we get our economy going,” he said.

The remarks came as a startling break from reality, with Americans continuing to die in masses while experts warn that states are woefully behind on the Trump administration’s own guidelines for lifting lockdown measures. In some ways, they appeared to echo the president’s daily briefing performances, which according to a recent Washington Post analysis, are filled with self-praise and just mere minutes acknowledging the virus’ victims.

Shortly after Kushner’s television hit on Wednesday, the bleak news continued with new statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing that the US death toll is likely much higher than previously known.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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