Jared Kushner hired his college roommate to create a national coronavirus testing plan, according to new report

Jared Kushner hired his college roommate to create a national coronavirus testing plan, according to new report

July 31, 2020
  • With the top medical experts in the nation at the White House's disposal, Jared Kushner decided to go in a different direction when it came to devising a national COVID-19 testing strategy.
  • Kushner hired his college roommate to work on a handpicked team tasked with streamlining testing at the federal level, according to a new Vanity Fair report.
  • While Kushner's omnipresent involvement in major White House initiatives is not new — such as his coronavirus "impact team" derided by actual experts as the "Slim Suit Crowd" — the report's details on testing are new.
  • Kushner's plan "just went poof into thin air," according to one of his team's members.
  • The team also procured 1 million defunct coronavirus tests from a United Arab Emirates company that misspelled its own name in an invoice as Cogna "Tecnology" Solutions.
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If it's a major issue in the Trump White House, Jared Kushner is probably running point.

When put in charge of devising a national strategy for testing, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser went to his college roommate over credentialed medical experts for an initiative that "just went poof into thin air," according to one of its participants.

A new Vanity Fair report published on Thursday revealed new details about Kushner's role in the nation's bungled coronavirus response, particularly in forming his own handpicked team to create a strategy that never happened.

Efforts to build an advanced testing and tracing operation nationwide were scrapped, according to the report. One explanation that reportedly convinced Kushner to ditch he plan was a sentiment in the White House that the virus would only be contained to "blue states," providing cover for the Trump administration to blame Democratic governors for the pandemic's damage.

In the meantime, Kushner's outfit still procured 1 million defunct COVID-19 tests from a United Arab Emirates company that misspelled its own name in an invoice as Cogna "Tecnology" Solutions, according to VF.

The roommate, Adam Boehler, was part of Kushner's "brain trust" of private sector figures working on the virus response. 

One of the participants on Kushner's team described the group to Politico as the "A-team of people who get sh-t done."

Boehler, 41, — who was Kushner's roommate over a summer when they were at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University, respectively — is the CEO of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, a new agency founded as part of the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development (BUILD) Act of 2018. 

His background was in private equity before becoming founder and CEO of Landmark Health, which touts itself as the nation's largest provider of at-home medical care.

Boehler's father, Dr. Rich Boehler, works at Landmark's office in Latham, N.Y., and has an extensive background as a chief medical officer, according to his LinkedIn page.

In 2018, Boehler was appointed to become Director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation under HHS.

While Boehler has a medical background, he does not have an MD and was serving on a team under Kushner that excluded the Trump administration's own so-called testing czar, Adm. Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary for health. 

Kushner's preference for private sector outsiders over government officials with credentialed expertise is part of a larger pattern that has been the subject of copious reporting, with career FEMA officials deriding Kushner's "impact team" as the "Slim Suit Crowd" in a New York Times story.

"Other agencies were in their own bubbles," apart from Kushner's team on testing, one of the participants told VF. "The circles never overlapped."

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