Report: Kushner’s Task Force Sought To Lowball Projected U.S. COVID Deaths
Max Kennedy Jr., Robert F. Kennedy’s 26-year-old grandson, reportedly attempted to blow the whistle from inside President Trump’s coronavirus task force, which he says wanted to lowball projected coronavirus deaths.
- Kennedy told The New Yorker that he joined the task force in March after a friend suggested he volunteer with the White House covid-19 Supply-Chain Task Force that Jared Kushner was putting together.
- Kennedy, a lifelong Democrat, said “it was such an unprecedented time. It didn’t seem political—it seemed larger than the Administration.”
- He said he was shocked to learn that they were not supporting the government’s official procurement team but rather were the team: “We were the entire frontline team for the federal government.”
Kennedy believes that the Administration relied on volunteers in order to sidestep government experts and thereby “control the narrative.” He said that Brad Smith, one of the political appointees who directed the task force, pressured him to create a model fudging the projected number of fatalities; Smith wanted the model to predict a high of a hundred thousand U.S. deaths, claiming that the experts’ models were “too severe.” Kennedy said that he told Smith, “I don’t know the first thing about disease modelling,” and declined the assignment. (A spokesman said that Smith did not recall the conversation.) To date, nearly two hundred thousand Americans have died.
- After a few weeks of increasing distress over the government’s response, Kennedy wrote an anonymous complaint to the House Oversight Committee, despite having signed a nondisclosure agreement.
- He is also speaking publicly now, saying he does not believe the NDA can legally keep him from expressing his opinion.
- “If you see something that might be illegal, and cause thousands of civilian lives to be lost, a person has to speak out.”
The Administration’s coronavirus response, he said, "was like a family office meets organized crime, melded with ‘Lord of the Flies.’ It was a government of chaos."