White House senior adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerBiden celebrates start of Hanukkah Kushner looking to Middle East for investors in new firm: report Watchdog finds no money has flowed out of agency tasked by Trump admin to fight pandemic MORE acknowledged there could be “risk” to reopening the country too quickly following the coronavirus outbreak while pointing to the economic consequences of the pandemic.
“There’s risk in anything, but the president carries the burden of the 30 million Americans who have lost their jobs due to this historic effort to save lives,” Kushner, who is also President TrumpDonald TrumpMedia giants side with Bannon on request to release Jan. 6 documents Cheney warns of consequences for Trump in dealings with Jan. 6 committee Jan. 6 panel recommends contempt charges for Trump DOJ official MORE’s son-in-law, said in an interview for the TIME100 Talks series on Tuesday.
The remarks come as Trump and other top officials pivot their focus from grappling with the pandemic to trying to blunt its mushrooming economic fallout, which has already pushed the nation’s unemployment rate near 15 percent.
However, Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFauci says he 'felt really badly' about 'difficult choice' on travel bans Overnight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — Supreme Court weighs abortion restrictions Mask mandates on transit expected to be extended into March: report MORE, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, issued a warning Tuesday that reopening the country too quickly could lead to a renewed spike in coronavirus cases. He referenced the federal benchmarks for reopening that the White House has rolled out, which some states have yet to meet.
“My concern is that if some areas, city, states or what have you, jump over those various checkpoints and prematurely open up without having the capability of being able to respond effectively and efficiently, my concern is that we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks,” Fauci said.
Kushner recognized Fauci’s warning, saying the coronavirus task force member is “incredibly knowledgeable” while insisting that the White House had to consider other factors beyond the country’s health concerns.
“You have a lot of policymakers like the president or the governors who were elected by the people in their states and in their country to take the input of the experts and professionals, and then make decisions weighing a lot of different factors,” Kushner said.
The U.S. has had more than 1.3 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 82,000 deaths since the outbreak began.
Lawmakers and public health experts have said they believe the administration is still lagging on testing, after Democrats broadly criticized the White House's initial effort to roll out testing kits and push to coordinate equipment and other tools for states.
Kushner maintained Tuesday that the impact of the pandemic "could have been a lot worse."
“We know that it’s a terrible tragedy, and one life [lost], as the president said, is too many. But faced with the magnitude of what this pandemic was and what it could have been … the situation could have been a lot worse,” Kushner told Time magazine. “So we really worked very, very hard to create a better outcome than could have been otherwise.”