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Kushner Fires Missile at CNN’s Blitzer After Being Hounded on COVID Restrictions



Appearing behind enemy lines on CNN early Tuesday night to discuss the Abraham Accords, White House senior adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner found himself sparing with Situation Room host Wolf Blitzer as the CNN partisan griped about the signing ceremony taking place “with very few masks, very little social distancing” that made for yet another example of the administration not “set[ting] an example” on the coronavirus.

Fortunately, Kushner was ready and, at one point, called out CNN’s sordid double standard on how they view mass gatherings depending on its political leanings.

 

 

And since CNN doesn’t believe in journalistic ethics and norms, Blitzer inserted himself into the story by expressing how he was “disturbed” and “pretty upset” with President Trump for a retweet earlier in the day about Joe Biden.

The interview’s first seven minutes covered the historic agreement with both Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates normalizing relations with Israel and, for CNN, it was shockingly normal and free of snark. From that portion, the only source of contention was Blitzer standing up for the Obama administration giving Iran $150 billion under the auspices of it having been frozen Iranian assets.

But Blitzer then pivoted to the coronavirus by kvetching: “The historic event at the White House today, just one of several events the president has held in the past few days with very few masks, very little social distancing. Why does the White House and the Trump campaign refuse to follow the administration’s own health guidelines?”

Kushner acknowledged he had tuned in before his appearance and, referring to clips Blitzer showed, he noted clips of those without masks “were in the front rows,” which consisted of “administration officials who were tested.”

But more broadly, he noted that attendees were “encouraged…to wear masks” even though “[i]t was an outdoor event” and, even then, he knew people who chose to stay home.

Blitzer continued to gripe, insisting that, even though the President and those around him are tested everyday, they “should set an example for the American public” with ostensibly no large (or even medium or small) public events. Perhaps Wolf is looking for events like Joe Biden in a backyard with three or four people.

Without any anger or snark present, Kushner calmly pushed back and pointed to the economic and mental suffering Americans have faced as Blitzer continued his histrionics (click “expand”):

KUSHNER: People have a First Amendment right and that’s something that CNN has vociferously argued for. And when we do our events, we do encourage people wear masks. We make masks available. And we ask people to follow guidance. And we also tell people who think that they’re high risk for the disease to stay home. But, again, at the end of the day in America, we still have to figure out how to live our lives. We’re not going to all lock ourselves in our home because of the pandemic. I think we know a lot more today. We know who’s at risk. We know how to mitigate the risk and we’re all going to act accordingly. 

BLITZER: But, as you know, almost 196,000 Americans have died from coronavirus over these past six months or so and that number potentially could double by January 1st unless dramatic action is taken and — and once again, the President sets an example for the American public. Don’t you think to save lives he should be doing more as an example? 

KUSHNER: Yeah, so what we’ve seen now is I think mortality’s at about 30 percent on a daily basis of what it was at its peak. 

BLITZER: A thousand Americans a day are dying, Jared. 

KUSHNER: I think the number’s about 700 this week, which is down from 1,000 —

BLITZER: 7 — or so, let’s say 700.

KUSHNER: — which is down from 2,200 —

BLITZER: It’s still 700 Americans a day.

KUSHNER: Yeah and at the end of the day, we’re doing everything possible. We’ve just surged tests to nursing homes. Again, you have a lot of governors who are running their states in different ways. And we’re doing everything we can to make supplies available and to make information available. But at the end of the day, Wolf, you had as many as almost 50 million people who lost their jobs because of this pandemic. And what we’ve been trying to figure out how to get the economy going. People thought we’d be at 20 percent unemployment. But thanks to the financial interventions the President made, we’re at 8.4 percent. And again, you have an increase in suicides, you have increase in overdoses. You have a lot of causes. Lockdowns kill people too. And at the end of the day, you know, again this is an unprecedented global pandemic. President Trump has worked with his advisers and he’s worked to come up with what are the right — right mix of — of policies and prescriptions to make sure we can both save lives, save our economy and allow people to — to move forward and I think that’s what we’ve done. 

Blitzer kept coming with Zuckerville’s talking points: “I think it’s still very worrisome to see all those folks so close together even if they’re outside not wearing masks and no social distancing.”

Without missing a beat, Kushner embarrassed Blitzer with this basic truth, leaving Blitzer to foolishly claim that they’ve always been worried about the Black Lives Matter protests violating pandemic guidelines:

KUSHNER: I will say, Wolf, I didn’t hear you and CNN being that worried when you saw people out there, you know, doing protests in different ways, so —

BLITZER: We were worried. We were plenty worried about that as well. 

KUSHNER: Oh.

To prove how unserious CNN has been, just look at how, hours earlier, they brought on Democratic activist Dr. Rob Davidson even though he previously said without condescension and ridicule that Black Lives Matter gatherings are done in the name of a cause greater than COVID-19.

Having been thoroughly schooled, Blitzer closed by voicing his personal disdain with a Trump retweet (click “expand”):

BLITZER: I was very disturbed earlier today when I saw the President retweet to his 80 million plus followers very, very disturbing, ugly message accusing the Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden of actually being a pedophile. Is that appropriate to give publicity to a really disgusting accusation like that, especially at a time when there are all those Q-Anon conspiracy theories about pedophiles running the Democratic Party, all those anti-Semitic conspiracy theories they’re spreading as well. It’s so disturbing to see that, Jared. 

KUSHNER: Look, Wolf, I haven’t seen the tweet. I’ve been focused today on this historic peace deal. I got here early in the morning. I’ve been helping get this thing ready. Again, we accomplished a lot today. I’m happy to come on another time and talk about that, but today let’s focus on the fact that President Trump was nominated this month two times for the Nobel Peace Prize. He achieved a historic peace deal that nobody thought was possible. And again, he took a difference approach, but he achieved and that’s what we were here today to celebrate.

BLITZER: And I congratulate you and I congratulate the president — 

KUSHNER: Thank you.

BLITZER: — and I congratulate the administration on this historic deal. It is very important. But please tell him, tell your father-in-law that it’s really bad, it’s really disgusting to retweet those kinds of ugly disgusting tweets about his Democratic rival. I — as you can tell, Jared, I was pretty upset when I saw that.

KUSHNER: I will relay to him your concern and, again, I think one thing about this President, he’s a very transparent President. He — you know, he lets people know what he’s thinking. He tweets, he says what he feels is out there and, again, he — he always is expressing himself in the way that he sees fit.

Blitzer inserting his personal feelings into the segment and CNN’s continued lobbying for more economic and personal ruin was made possible by advertisers such as Jenny Craig, Norton, and USAA. Follow the links to the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.

To see the transcript of the full Kushner interview on September 15, click “expand.”

CNN’s The Situation Room
September 15, 2020
5:18 p.m. Eastern

WOLF BLITZER: It’s been a truly historic day over at the White House as President Trump presided over ceremonies marking the normalization, full normalization of relations between Israel and its Middle-Eastern neighbors Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. We are joined now by President Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner. Jared, congratulations on these deals. I know you’ve worked on them for a long, long time. And, as you know, the President hosted the leaders of these three countries to sign these historic agreements. How do you believe these deals will actually, though, alter the overall landscape of the Middle East? 

JARED KUSHNER: Thank you very much, wolf. And thank you for the well wishes to me and to the administration on this historic breakthrough. So, obviously, I think that today what we did was we shattered an amazing barrier bringing the Arab countries together with Israel hopefully marks the beginning of the end of the arab-israeli conflict. I think it removes a huge psychological barrier in the region it also allows people in the region to start doing business together, traveling to each other. You know, one of the biggest issues that’s kept the region divided for so long is the al-Aqqsa mosque and people throughout the Muslim world thinking that they can’t go pray and visit there and then the false notion that’s been put out that the mosque is under attack. This allows Muslims to go there and I think that that will hopefully reduce the tension in the region, hopefully help us counter-extremism and terrorism in a much more efficient way. It allows us to bring troops back to America. And I think that, at the end of the day it allows us to hopefully spend our monies on foreign wars, here rebuilding our country, which is a very important thing. 

BLITZER: The President said the administration is very far along in talks with other Arab countries who want to follow suit. Earlier in the morning, he said five or six countries later this afternoon he said he expects seven, eight, or nine Arab countries will join including what he called the big one. Which countries is he talking about? 

KUSHNER: So, as you know, when we announced the first deal, which was the deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, we caught everyone by surprise. It’s very rare in Washington that you can actually break news via a presidential tweet that was, you know, really guarded by so many people. So, the diplomacy I’ve done over the last years, obviously it’s been untraditional. We’ve taken some criticism for doing it that way. But we’ve kept our cards very close to our vest and it’s produced results. And I will say that, again, a lot of the people who criticized the approach that we took on this deal are the same people who said that if Trump was elected, we’d be in World War III and quite frankly, that hasn’t worked. Today, the President signed two peace deals with Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Israel and Bahrain. And again the last peace deal was done 26 years ago in Israel’s existence before this month, they had two peace deals in 72 years. So I think we had a very good breakthrough. What’s happened is, in the Middle East, the deals have been so well received. That’s what helped Bahrain go quickly. They saw how well the deal was received in the United Arab Emirates and throughout the Muslim world. The people in the region are tired of war. They’re tired of conflict. They want to move forward and they see bridging this gap and getting a better understanding between countries as a way to move forward and so — 

BLITZER: Is Saudi Arabia, Jared, one of those countries? 

KUSHNER: — I think you’ve had a lot of changes in Saudi Arabia over the last three years. President Trump’s worked very closely with King Soloman and the Crown Price, Mohammad bin Salman on a lot of reforms. They’ve modernized their society.We’ve brought ourselves closer together. And we have a common thread in Iran. And I think what you’re seeing is a new Middle East that’s being formed. And president trump, he laid out his vision for it on his first foreign trip in Riyadh. We’ve executed that vision ever since and I think that you have leaders that are tired of the way things have been done. Quite frankly, also we put out our vision for peace. You saw the Palestinian leadership reject it even before it even came out before they knew what was in it. So people are getting a little tired with the tactics by the Palestinian leaders. They want to help the Palestinian people but they’re not going to allow them to hold back the national interest of all of these different countries, so —

BLITZER: Are you having any conversations at all with the Palestinian leadership? 

KUSHNER: — so, again, I keep my — my discussions very private, which I think benefits getting to the outcome. But what I will say is that, again, they know where we stand. They do believe that President Trump could accomplish what very few people could, right? Again, you have past administrations that have spent a lot of time in the Middle East and have had absolutely nothing to show for it other than greater threats to America and lots of wasted time. President Trump has been able to do it in an unconventional way. And today we signed two peace deals. So the Palestinians see that he has a lot of sway with the Israeli public. You know, Israel trusts President Trump that he knows what their security needs are. He knows what their bottom lines are and they do believe that he’s the only person that can actually make this deal. But I think that, again, you’re not going to make a deal until it’s ready. We do believe that before there’s a deal with the Palestinians, you’re going to have more countries normalize with Israel. And then, you know, again, when the Palestinian leadership decides that they’re ready, then that’s when a deal can be made. But again, we — we can’t want —

BLITZER: Is the U.S. sale of — Jared —

KUSHNER: — just — if I can just finish the point, Wolf. 

BLITZER: — go ahead.

KUSHNER: We can’t want peace more than the Palestinian leadership wants to make peace. And so when they’re ready to do it, we’ll be there to help facilitate it, but I do think we’ve brought everyone in the region much closer than where they were a couple of years ago. 

BLITZER: Is the sale of F-35 jets to the United Arab Emirates part of this deal? 

KUSHNER: It has nothing to do with our peace deal. But again, we have our relationship with the United Arab Emirates. We’ve fought together in I think over four wars. You know, they’ve got a tremendous military. They’re right on the edge with Iran. President Trump’s Middle East strategy has really been about countering Iran’s aggression. You know, the last administration did a — probably one of the worst deals I’ve ever seen, which was the Iran deal where they gave $150 billion in sanctions relief to Iran over, you know, I think it was $1.8 billion in cash. Once that happened, Iran used that money, funneled it to its proxies, and you had much more instability throughout the region. President Trump got out of that deal. 

BLITZER: Yeah.

KUSHNER: We’ve cut off a lot of Iran’s finances. And by sending F-35s to the United Arab Emirates, it obviously strengthens our regional alliances and puts, you know, the biggest cause of instability on notice that we’re moving serious — we’re moving serious attention to where they are and so, if —

BLITZER: I will point out, as you well know, that $150 billion, that was Iranian assets that were frozen here in the United States, which — which the Obama administration decided to ease up on and dispatch. But let’s move on. I know you’ve got — 

KUSHNER: But I will say, Wolf —

BLITZER: Yeah?

KUSHNER: — when they made that decision, they had Iran really in a position where they could have made a deal. They basically gave them a pathway to a nuclear weapon and then they let them have the sanctions relief where — and they didn’t hold them back on ballistic missiles. They didn’t stop the regional instability they were causing and they basically made one of the worst deals we’ve ever seen. So, again, all that money went to fund terror. And you talk about, you know, protecting American soldiers and there’s been some debate recently. You know, President Trump took strong action against Qassem Soleimani who the last admin — we were criticized by that by the other side. And obviously, that — he was the architect of a lot of the IEDs and a lot of the different — different ways that American soldiers were killed or maimed in the region in the years before. So, President Trump has stood up —

BLITZER: Alright.

KUSHNER: — for our troops and he’s doing things that will make the middle East a more stable place in the short, medium, and long term. 

BLITZER: You have a wide portfolio in this administration. Let’s just talk about the coronavirus pandemic. The historic event at the White House today, just one of several events the president has held in the past few days with very few masks, very little social distancing. Why does the White House and the Trump campaign refuse to follow the administration’s own health guidelines? 

KUSHNER: So, I was watching as I was waiting to come on the show here, and all the clips you were showing of people without masks were people who were in the front rows. Those were administration officials who were tested. The invitation encouraged people to wear masks. It was an outdoor event. I had some friends who didn’t come to the event because they feel like they have comorbidities and they didn’t want to put themselves at risk. Look, we’re six months into this, people know what their risk profile is and they can take the appropriate measures. And again, I think when I was watching it I was happy at least that CNN was covering a Trump accomplishment, so, I didn’t mind that you were showing the clips of people out there, but at the end of the day, you know, again, it was a —

BLITZER: But don’t you think, Jared, that the President and the top advisers to the President like you should set an example for the American public? 

KUSHNER: — yeah and again, we’ve been holding our rallies outdoors by and large. We had one where several outdoor venues were — were forbidden to us by the governor. So that one was forced to go indoors. People have a First Amendment right and that’s something that CNN has vociferously argued for. And when we do our events, we do encourage people wear masks. We make masks available. And we ask people to follow guidance. And we also tell people who think that they’re high risk for the disease to stay home. But, again, at the end of the day in America, we still have to figure out how to live our lives. We’re not going to all lock ourselves in our home because of the pandemic. I think we know a lot more today. We know who’s at risk. We know how to mitigate the risk and we’re all going to act accordingly. 

BLITZER: But, as you know, almost 196,000 Americans have died from coronavirus over these past six months or so and that number potentially could double by January 1st unless dramatic action is taken and — and once again, the President sets an example for the American public. Don’t you think to save lives he should be doing more as an example? 

KUSHNER: Yeah, so what we’ve seen now is I think mortality’s at about 30 percent on a daily basis of what it was at its peak. 

BLITZER: A thousand Americans a day are dying, Jared. 

KUSHNER: I think the number’s about 700 this week, which is down from 1,000 —

BLITZER: 7 — or so, let’s say 700.

KUSHNER: — which is down from 2,200 —

BLITZER: It’s still 700 Americans a day.

KUSHNER: Yeah and at the end of the day, we’re doing everything possible. We’ve just surged tests to nursing homes. Again, you have a lot of governors who are running their states in different ways. And we’re doing everything we can to make supplies available and to make information available. But at the end of the day, Wolf, you had as many as almost 50 million people who lost their jobs because of this pandemic. And what we’ve been trying to figure out how to get the economy going. People thought we’d be at 20 percent unemployment. But thanks to the financial interventions the President made, we’re at 8.4 percent. And again, you have an increase in suicides, you have increase in overdoses. You have a lot of causes. Lockdowns kill people too. And at the end of the day, you know, again this is an unprecedented global pandemic. President Trump has worked with his advisers and he’s worked to come up with what are the right — right mix of — of policies and prescriptions to make sure we can both save lives, save our economy and allow people to — to move forward and I think that’s what we’ve done. 

BLITZER: I think it’s still very worrisome to see all those folks so close together even if they’re outside not wearing masks and no social distancing.

KUSHNER: I will say, Wolf, I didn’t hear you and CNN being that worried when you saw people out there, you know, doing protests in different ways, so —

BLITZER: We were worried. We were plenty worried about that as well. 

KUSHNER: Oh.

BLITZER: I know you got to run, but a very quick question because I was very disturbed earlier today when I saw the President retweet to his 80 million plus followers very, very disturbing, ugly message accusing the Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden of actually being a pedophile. Is that appropriate to give publicity to a really disgusting accusation like that, especially at a time when there are all those Q-Anon conspiracy theories about pedophiles running the Democratic Party, all those anti-Semitic conspiracy theories they’re spreading as well. It’s so disturbing to see that, Jared. 

KUSHNER: Look, Wolf, I haven’t seen the tweet. I’ve been focused today on this historic peace deal. I got here early in the morning. I’ve been helping get this thing ready. Again, we accomplished a lot today. I’m happy to come on another time and talk about that, but today let’s focus on the fact that President Trump was nominated this month two times for the Nobel Peace Prize. He achieved a historic peace deal that nobody thought was possible. And again, he took a difference approach, but he achieved and that’s what we were here today to celebrate.

BLITZER: And I congratulate you and I congratulate the president — 

KUSHNER: Thank you.

BLITZZER: — and I congratulate the administration on this historic deal. It is very important. But please tell him, tell your father-in-law that it’s really bad, it’s really disgusting to retweet those kinds of ugly disgusting tweets about his Democratic rival. I — as you can tell, Jared, I was pretty upset when I saw that.

KUSHNER: I will relay to him your concern and, again, I think one thing about this President, he’s a very transparent President. He — you know, he lets people know what he’s thinking. He tweets, he says what he feels is out there and, again, he — he always is expressing himself in the way that he sees fit. 

BLITZER: Jared Kushner, once again, congratulations. Thanks so much for joining us. Let’s continue this conversation down the road.

KUSHNER: Thank you, Wolf. I look forward to being with you again. 

BLITZER: Alright, thank you.

KUSHNER: Thank you.



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