It’s easy to make jokes at Jared Kushner’s expense, and he truly deserves every last bit of mockery he gets. You also don’t have to look far to find clever takedowns of a man who has spent his entire life failing upward, including multiple plum White House assignments owing to the fact that he’s married to the daughter of the most corrupt and incompetent president in American history.
But let’s leave all that witticism aside for now, and ponder what Kushner said Wednesday on “Fox & Friends.”
“We’re on the other side of the medical aspect of this and I think that we’ve achieved all of the different milestones that are needed, so the federal government rose to the occasion and this is a great success story. And I think that’s what really needs to be told.”
Yes, let’s tell that story.
The first known cases of COVID-19 in the United States and South Korea were found on the same day, Jan. 20. As of Wednesday, there had been 246 deaths in South Korea, while the death toll in the United States from the pandemic topped 60,000, more than the total U.S. deaths from the Vietnam War, with the real toll likely much higher than that official count.
It’s not fair to blame every coronavirus death in the United States on the government, but it is clear from the statistics around the world that this country has been less effective than any other on the planet when it comes to dealing with this virus, and with several states “reopening,” it only figures to get worse.
Think back to when we had sports in this country, and you may remember Super Bowl LIV, a very exciting football game played in Miami that featured Jennifer Lopez and Shakira performing at halftime with about 130 dancers. The attendance for the Super Bowl was announced at 62,417.
If every player in the game and every person in the halftime show died, that would be a horrible tragedy, for sure, and also match the South Korean death toll from coronavirus. If everyone else in the entire stadium died, that would be a catastrophic event, and also just about match the still rising American coronavirus death toll.
If there were a terrorist plot to blow up the Super Bowl, would it be “a great success story” if everyone at the game died?
One of the people in that stadium was Donald Trump, who loves to go to sporting events, and has pushed for American sports to resume even though it would be deeply dangerous to do so.
Trump also attended UFC 244 in New York last year, an event that drew a crowd of 20,143 at Madison Square Garden. If everyone at that fight night died, it would approach the current death toll in France, where 24,087 people have died and there have been fewer than 2,000 cases per million people. If they had filled up Madison Square Garden three straight times and killed everyone inside, that would match the United States, where there have been 3,215 cases per million people.
Would that be “a great success story?”
There were 43,910 fans in attendance for Game 5 of the World Series, another sporting event attended by the president. Maybe instead of the thought-exercise of filling up Madison Square Garden three times, you could combine the UFC event with the baseball game in Washington, and again, imagine everyone at both of those events dying — a total that would be higher than the current official U.S. coronavirus tally, but that would encompass some of the still-uncounted dead.
Would that be “a great success story?”
The Daytona 500 did not release an official attendance for this year’s race, with Trump at the track, but public filings last summer showed that there were 98,546 people at the 2019 event. Last November, Trump was at Bryant-Denny Stadium with 101,821 fans for LSU-Alabama.
The United States has not gotten to those numbers yet for coronavirus deaths. The only way that anything about this will be “a great success story” is if we somehow avoid going from losing an entire Super Bowl’s worth of people to losing an entire LSU-Alabama game’s worth of people.
And even then, it would not redeem these past three months, in which all of those people did die, while the actual success belonged to a country that kept its death toll in the hundreds, instead of approaching the hundreds of thousands.