kushner
White House adviser Jared Kushner listens as President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Thursday, April 2, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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Jared Kushner bragged in April that Trump was taking the country ‘back from the doctors’

President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner boasted in mid-April about how the President had cut out the doctors and scientists advising him on the unfolding coronavirus pandemic, comments that came as more than 40,000 Americans already had died from the virus, which was ravaging New York City.

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In a taped interview on April 18, Kushner told legendary journalist Bob Woodward that Trump was “getting the country back from the doctors” in what he called a “negotiated settlement.” Kushner also proclaimed that the US was moving swiftly through the “panic phase” and “pain phase” of the pandemic and that the country was at the “beginning of the comeback phase. “That doesn’t mean there’s not still a lot of pain and there won’t be pain for a while, but that basically was, we’ve now put out rules to get back to work,” Kushner said. “Trump’s now back in charge. It’s not the doctors.”

There were three phases. There’s the panic phase, the pain phase and then the comeback phase. I do believe that last night symbolized kind of the beginning of the comeback phase. That doesn’t mean there’s not still a lot of pain and there won’t be pain for a while, but that basically was, we’ve now put out rules to get back to work. Trump’s now back in charge. It’s not the doctors. They’ve kind of – we have, like, a negotiated settlement.

The statement reflected a political strategy. Instead of following the health experts’ advice, Trump and Kushner were focused on what would help the President on Election Day. By their calculations, Trump would be the “open-up president.” CNN has obtained audio of two separate interviews with Kushner, which were conducted in April and May as part of Woodward’s reporting for his book “Rage.” In the wide-ranging conversations, Kushner described the President’s relationship with his public health advisers in adversarial terms.

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