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Jared Kushner says some people 'play politics with the pandemic' but not Trump – CNBC

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White House senior advisor and the U.S. president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has defended the Trump administration’s strategy to combat the coronavirus pandemic, saying others have tried to use the crisis to “play politics” — but not President Donald Trump.

“Some people have chosen to play politics with the pandemic, President Trump has opted not to politicize it and he’s done everything possible to try to figure how to help people get whatever care they need,” Kushner told CNBC in an exclusive interview on Friday.

“This is a global pandemic, it came from China into our country. It’s ravaged many countries throughout the world and I think President Trump has dealt with it in a very responsible way,” he added.

In February, when there were just three cases of Covid-19 in the U.S., Trump accused the Democrats of politicizing the virus and using it as a “new hoax” to damage his reputation.

Since then, the coronavirus has infected more than 21.5 million people worldwide and killed at least 773,000 people, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. is the worst-hit nation and accounts for about 25% of the global cases reported so far.

Jared Kushner, senior advisor to President Trump, listens to the president during a listening session with cybersecurity experts in the Roosevelt Room the White House in Washington on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017.

Jabin Botsford | The Washington Post | Getty Images

Asked by CNBC’s Hadley Gamble whether it had been a mistake for the U.S. not to have a national program to fight the virus, Kushner said the government oversaw the procurement, production and distribution of resources needed during the pandemic, such as masks and ventilators.

“With regards to a national strategy, the job of the federal government was to get the resources that the country needed,” he said.

“You heard all these hysterical reports about doctors on the front lines not being able to get masks, not having enough ventilators, you had governors requesting a lot more ventilators than they needed, and again, every patient in America that needed a ventilator got a ventilator, President Trump distributed them properly,” Kushner told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble.

The U.S. government has been criticized over its handling of the coronavirus epidemic, where over 5.4 million confirmed cases of the virus have now been recorded and where there have been over 170,000 deaths, according to Hopkins’ data on Sunday.

Kushner led a coronavirus response task force aimed at securing protective gear for medical workers and devising a national testing plan. His task force, which parallels the government’s official task force spearheaded by Vice President Mike Pence, was accused of inexperience and a lack of transparency over its dealings.

It was widely reported that a national strategy over testing was dropped in favor of a state-by-state response to make the Democratic governors in some of the hardest-hit states look bad. The White House denied those allegations.

Kushner insisted that the Trump administration had ensured an adequate supply of resources to states, but that it did not want to take over their decision-making.

“The federal government has done a lot to stimulate the supply (of resources). Every governor that has needed resources, we’ve dealt with them and we’ve done it. Governors run the states … President Trump from Washington is not going to tell them how to run their states.”

Asked if there were any regrets about the White House’s approach, Kushner said “there’s always things you could do differently. He did not elaborate further.

“But again, this is an unprecedented challenge and I think he’s (Trump’s) made a lot of right decisions … we have 50 states, which means you have 50 CEOs, and his job is to work with all of them,” he added.

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Women in politics panel scheduled for Thursday – Sarnia Observer

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Three local women are talking about their experiences in politics this Thursday for a Jean Collective digital panel.

Judy Krall, deputy mayor of Enniskillen Township, is pictured in the Lambton County building in February. She’s one of three panelists in a Jean Collective talk about women in politics Thursday.

Paul Morden / The Observer

Three local women are talking about their experiences in politics this Thursday for a Jean Collective digital panel.

The group aimed at encouraging more women in politics in Sarnia-Lambton – currently about a dozen are in elected office across the county – kicked off in January, but the initiative was sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic just before the panel presentation was originally scheduled for late March, said Helen Cole, one of six women behind the group.

“With this panel, we’re relaunching,” she said.

“It’s just a way to get the word out that we’re here, we want to support women who would be interested in making a difference in their community.

The Sept. 24, 7 p.m. panel via Zoom includes St. Clair Township Coun. Tracy Kingston, Enniskillen Township Deputy Mayor Judy Krall, and former City of Sarnia councillor Anne Marie Gillis.

“We’re asking them questions like ‘why did you decide to get involved in politics,’” Cole said. “Most often it’s because they were already active in their community and they wanted to make a difference.”

Challenges exist, said Cole, who served on St. Thomas council before moving to Sarnia, where she was manager of its Canadian Cancer Society office until she retired in 2013.

“You often will feel all alone,” she said. “So we want to address that piece.”

That includes developing what she called an education program for prospective politicians about things like Roberts Rules of Order that govern council meetings, work-life balance, information about finance, strategic planning, for building self confidence, and covering other topics, so they know what to expect in office, she said.

“I have some subject matter experts lined up for some of those, and if there’s some interest there may be a campaign school,” she said.

The education program would continue up until maybe six months before the 2022 municipal election, she said.

“Our point that we made very strongly is we are not endorsing any particular candidate or political party – we just want to get women involved,” Cole said.

“We all agree that a female on council has a different perspective, and we think that needs to be brought to the council table,” wherever that may be in Sarnia-Lambton, she said.

“And it’s a way for us to support women,” she said.

Often women are hesitant to run amid doubt, she said.

“We want to take the mystery and the fear out of it and say ‘You can do this. You need to get involved in your community.”’

Thursday’s digital panel is free and tickets are available for the Women in Politics Panel Discussion and Networking event via eventbrite.com.

Hopes are the education events to come will also be free, Cole said, noting she wants to eventually offer bursaries to women studying political science at university.

There’s a fund named after Jean Macdougall – also the namesake of the collective and Cole’s mentor during her time in politics – at the Sarnia Community Foundation for the cause, she said.

“If people wanted to support in that way, they could donate to that fund,” she said.

tkula@postmedia.com

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Jonathan Kay: B.C. NDP succumbs to the leftist battle over identity politics – National Post

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Article content continued

The next day, the star candidate was joined by Annita McPhee, former president of the Tahltan First Nations government, whose lands comprise part of the Stikine riding. But McPhee didn’t just jump in: she also called on Cullen to jump out. According to a motion adopted in 2011, older male NDP MLAs who retire must be replaced with either a woman or a member of an “equity-seeking” group. Cullen, a white guy born and raised in Toronto, doesn’t qualify.

In the days since, the plot thickened, with the party president releasing a vague statement indicating that “in certain instances, despite extensive candidate searches, our regulations permit allowances for other candidates to be considered.” It also turned out that the definition of “equity-seeking” is quite broad. In the last election, one married male NDP candidate, who’d always presented as straight, abruptly claimed he was bisexual. Another white male candidate got nominated after saying he had a hearing impairment.

I hadn’t heard of the B.C. NDP’s equity-seeking policy until this week. But its existence shouldn’t surprise me. The whole thrust of modern identity politics is to rank the acuteness of human oppression — and, by corollary, the urgency of the associated political demands — on the basis of race, sex and other personal traits. It makes sense that this principle should now be institutionalized, and weaponized, by politicians competing for status and power in a left-wing party that explicitly claims to represent the oppressed. Not so long ago, oppression was defined in NDP circles according to a Marxist understanding of labour and capital — which is why unions had such a prominent role in the party. But those days are long gone. Just last month, in fact, federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh used his Twitter account to promote officially debunked conspiracy theories suggesting that a Black Toronto woman was murdered in May by a half dozen (unionized) Toronto police officers.

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Coronavirus: Ministers balance science and politics in latest rules – BBC News

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It’s not a day for optimists, even though the prime minister himself is one of that tribe.

Tomorrow, it will be six months exactly since he told the nation to stay at home.

This time, Boris Johnson stopped well short of slamming the country’s doors shut.

But what really stood out in his long statement in a miserable-looking Commons was his message that the limits put in place today will last another six months.

Even if you are very fond of your own company, lucky enough to have a secure job you enjoy and a comfy spare room where you can do it, it is quite something to contemplate.

The government now expects that all our lives will be subject to restrictions of one kind or another for a whole year – March 2020 to March 2021.

As each month ticks by, it becomes harder to imagine a return to anything like normal political life, or, more importantly, the way we all live.

We may not be waiting for a return to life as we knew it, but grinding through a moment of change.

‘Shelter the economy’

But if you were listening carefully, something else was different too.

The country became familiar with the slogan “Stay At Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives” – it was emblazoned on government lecterns, repeated again and again by government ministers in interview after interview, on bus shelters, pop-up ads on the internet, wherever you looked.

That phrase was retired after the most intense period of the lockdown, but echoed today with one important additional condition.

Boris Johnson’s driver today was to “save lives, protect the NHS” and “shelter the economy”.

As we discussed here yesterday, concerns about the economy played more strongly in Downing Street after fierce resistance from backbenchers, and arguments from the next-door neighbour in No 11 of the economic risks of a short, sharp closure programme.

Fears about how the country makes a living have always been part of the decision-making process for the government, grappling with these acute dilemmas.

But the political appetite inside the Tory party for sweeping restrictions has certainly dimmed.

The changes announced today do make economic recovery harder, the “bounce back” the government dreamt of looks harder to achieve, but they are not as draconian as they may otherwise have been.

The choices made by Nicola Sturgeon to restrict social lives much further than in England, as in Northern Ireland, point to that difference.

Ministers used to make great play of following the science, now they are certainly following the politics too.

Only the unknowable progress of the disease will, in time, suggest which call was right.

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