Despite having no evident experience that would serve him taking a lead role in responding to a national public health emergency, former White House Adviser Jared Kushner was tasked with spearheading the procurement of badly needed medical supplies and personal protective equipment for the nation’s medical workers in an effort known as “Project Airbridge.” In that endeavor, Kushner turned toward a group of private-sector volunteers, many with similarly little expertise.
The project was soon beset by problems that stemmed from this lack of experience. Promising leads were overlooked in favor of tips from Trump allies, with those tips making their way onto a “VIP Update” spreadsheet. “Few of the leads, V.I.P. or otherwise, panned out,” wrote the New York Times in reporting on a whistleblower memo written by a volunteer.
Others close to Kushner found their way into the federal response effort. The CEO of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation — Adam Boehler, Kushner’s college roommate — was also central in managing the response by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to critical supply shortages. And according to reporting by the Atlantic in late March 2020, a health insurance company co-founded by Kushner’s brother built a testing-information website for the government that was eventually scrapped.
American Oversight is investigating the role that the president’s son-in-law has played in the federal government’s pandemic response, from the involvement of his personal associates to the small-business relief loans that went to his family’s companies.