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special requests

Coronavirus task force whistleblower says volunteers had to pay special attention to Fox News host's supply requests

Jared Kushner's coronavirus task force volunteers in charge of procuring personal protective equipment, such as masks, for virus hot spots were instructed were instructed to prioritize requests from President Trump's friends and supporters, Max Kennedy Jr., one of the volunteers, told The New Yorker.

Kennedy, the 26-year-old grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, said the group had to pay special attention to Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, who he said was "particularly aggressive" in demanding masks be shipped to a hospital she favored.

Per The New Yorker, Kennedy — who in April sent an anonymous complaint to Congress detailing what he described as an incompetent White House response to the pandemic — also said the volunteers were told to direct millions of dollars worth of supplies to five pre-selected distributors, and he alleges he was instructed by one of the political appointees who directed the task force to create a model altering the projected number of COVID-19 fatalities because experts' models were "too severe." Kennedy, who has experience working at investment and consulting firms and was planning to take the LSATs, said he declined the assignment, explaining he knew nothing about disease modeling.

But beyond the specific complaints, Kennedy was concerned by the administration's over-reliance on volunteers like himself, which he believed was an attempt by the White House to sidestep government experts. "It was such a mismatch of personnel," he said. Read more at The New Yorker.