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Jared Kusher says coronavirus pandemic shows US has to protect borders and keep manufacturing 

Jared Kushner said the coronavirus has ‘vindicated’ President Trump’s efforts to secure the borders and return manufacturing to the US.

The senior White House adviser and the president’s son-in-law believes it will be hard for Trump’s political opponents to attack him on the issue of border security due to the spread of the pandemic.

Kushner, who has been part of the Coronavirus Taskforce charged with ensuring supply chains of medical equipment reach hospitals, claimed the virus showed the US needs to control its own manufacturing.

Speaking to Fox News in a rare interview on the The Next Revolution, Kushner added that Trump presidential campaign message was that the borders are a national security issue was made stronger by the virus.

He told host Steve Hilton: ‘I think the campaign platform that President Trump ran on in 2016 which was basically – ”you have to secure your borders and you have to control your own manufacturing as a national security issue” – I think those have been totally vindicated positions from the virus and I doubt it will be easy for people to argue against them in the future.’ 

Jared Kushner described Trump’s 2016 campaign as having been ‘vindicated’ in a interview with Fox News’ The Next Revolution

Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner speaking at a daily briefing on the coronavirus, in the Brady Briefing Room at the White House, flanked by President Donald Trump

Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner speaking at a daily briefing on the coronavirus, in the Brady Briefing Room at the White House, flanked by President Donald Trump

Kushner added that while trying to procure personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators, he was told by various industries who ‘want to move manufacturing onshore’.

He also said the pandemic has renewed President Trump’s calls to make the US a ‘leader in advanced manufacturing’.

Kushner said: ‘If you look at why it [manufacturing] went overseas before, it’s because people were a big cost of manufacturing.

‘Now, it’s really robots…the personnel component of manufacturing has actually gone down but we’ve lost a lot of the capability here in America to be the leader in advanced manufacturing and President Trump is very committed to making sure that over the next couple of years, America regains their ability to be the leading global advanced manufacturer. I think we will see a lot of that happening.’

Trump has come under fire for not reacting quickly enough to the virus threat and not setting up a system of testing on a federal level. 

Kushner hopes the US will have carried out around five million coronavirus tests by the end of this month.

He told Hilton: ‘We figured out how to really stimulate that supply. We believe by the month of April we will have close to five million tests that will be performed. 

Atlas Air planes delivering medical supplies including 130,000 N95 respirators, 1.8 million face masks and gowns, 10.3 million gloves, and over 70,000 thermometers at the end of last month

Atlas Air planes delivering medical supplies including 130,000 N95 respirators, 1.8 million face masks and gowns, 10.3 million gloves, and over 70,000 thermometers at the end of last month 

A "prone team" wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), turning a COVID-19 patient onto his stomach in a Stamford Hospital intensive care unit (ICU) in Stamford, Connecticut

A ‘prone team’ wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), turning a COVID-19 patient onto his stomach in a Stamford Hospital intensive care unit (ICU) in Stamford, Connecticut

‘We’re anticipating for the month of May, the number we were originally asked to do, we can exceed it…we think we can double that number and we should have more than ample amount of tests in the market for the month of May.’

Kushner said the White House, alongside the Department of Health and Human Services, has been working with governors to develop their own testing strategy on a local level. 

He added: ‘The limiting factor is not going to be swabs or reagents or transport media, it’s going to be the different states’ ability to collect the samples and do it in an efficient way.

‘We feel really good. We’ve eliminated a lot of problems when it comes to testing and I think we will continue to see it do better and better over the coming weeks.’

Yesterday a a top official claimed five million face masks ordered by the Veterans Health Administration to protect staff amid the ongoing pandemic were unexpectedly seized be the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

Health care workers at VA hospitals have sounded the alarm about PPE shortages in facilities across the United States.

Staff members at these facilities have been tasked with caring for a vulnerable veteran community that tend to be older and exhibit underlying health conditions.

Funeral directors loading the body of a coronavirus victim, who is to be cremated in Buffalo, onto a truck in preparation for transport, outside Gerald J. Neufeld Funeral Home in Elmhurst, New York, yesterday

Funeral directors loading the body of a coronavirus victim, who is to be cremated in Buffalo, onto a truck in preparation for transport, outside Gerald J. Neufeld Funeral Home in Elmhurst, New York, yesterday 

White House senior advisors Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner arriving at Hyderabad House in New Delhi during a visit to India in February

White House senior advisors Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner arriving at Hyderabad House in New Delhi during a visit to India in February

As doctors scramble to stay ahead of global health crisis, the Executive in Charge of Veterans Health Administration revealed a shipment containing millions of face masks were diverted by FEMA. 

During his interview with Fox, Kushner also announced a federal effort to supply nursing homes and other vulnerable communities with additional test kits and PPE.

He added that he is focused on ‘the inner cities and indigenous populations’ and has ‘been working very hard to make sure they have adequate testing and PPE disproportionate to where vulnerable populations are to where there are less vulnerable populations”

Kushner said: ‘I don’t want to get ahead of any specific announcements, but Admiral John Polowczyk [the supply chain task force lead at FEMA] has been focused very much on getting stuff to the different places that need it and nursing homes in different areas where people are vulnerable has been a place where we really tried to surge.’

Tensions around the Strategic National Stockpile were first publicly realized after Jared Kushner, a White House senior adviser and COVID-19 task force member, suggested federal stockpiles of protective supplies cannot be used by states.

The Strategic National Stockpiles website stated that it was meant to assist states during health crises, but quickly pivoted after Kushner spoke to match with what he said. 

Some areas of the Us have begun to look towards easing their lockdowns as new infections start to drop.

President Donald Trump speaking about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington last week

President Donald Trump speaking about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington last week

Kushner urged Americans to ‘take all the learnings from this virus and figure out how we can be more prepared for the future’.

He told Fox: ‘Now, the goal is not to make this a political issue and figure out how we can come together to really onshore. 

‘What we’ve been doing at the federal government is figuring out how do we aggregate a lot of the different demand in different key industries that are critical for our national security. 

‘We’re thinking of ways right now to redo our stockpile given the nature of the hospital system and the medical distribution system and figure out how we can take all the learnings from this virus and figure out how we can be more prepared for the future.

‘By slowing the spread and flattening the curve, that has given us time to really develop search hospital capacity plans, we have enough ventilators, we have a ton of spare hospital capacity and in addition, we have a lot of PPE.

‘We’re onshoring a lot of these industries, working to make sure we’re never reliant on foreign supplies again, and the doctors have learned more about how to treat this.’ 

He added: ‘I would say the most important thing is the behavioral changes. People are washing their hands and wearing masks and I think we’re learning how to live with this in a much better way which will enable us, at least the people who are not high-risk to start going back to work in a phased and responsible approach.’

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