Robert F. Kennedy’s grandson volunteered to work on a COVID-19 task force run by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner. But he ended up sending a complaint to Congress after witnessing what he described as a chaotic, dismal “Lord of The Flies” operation, The New Yorker reported Monday.
“I just couldn’t sleep,” Max Kennedy Jr., 26, told the magazine. “I was so distressed and disturbed by what I’d seen.”
Kennedy detailed a poorly managed operation to procure desperately needed medical supplies run by an inexperienced crew of volunteers. There appeared to be no vision, no strategy, and no real leadership driving the operation, he recounted.
Kennedy, a lifelong Democrat, said he volunteered for the COVID Supply-Chain Task Force because it was “such an unprecedented time.”
“It seemed larger than the administration,” he told The New Yorker.
But he said he was stunned to learn that he and some 12 other young volunteers were essentially the government’s team in charge of obtaining protective equipment like masks, gloves and hospital gowns for frontline workers. They were using their own laptops and personal email accounts to do what they could.
“We were the entire frontline team,” an incredulous Kennedy told the magazine. The volunteer numbers were more appropriate for an “after-school event — not to run the greatest crisis in a hundred years,” he said. And there was no urgency to mobilize more people for such an “unbelievably colossal” challenge, he added.
Kennedy said he suspected that inexperienced volunteers were used so that the White House could “control the narrative,” and wouldn’t be contradicted by anyone with expertise.
He was alarmed Trump consistently underplayed the danger of COVID-19 and the dire of lack of supplies. Trump’s solution for the chaos was to blame states — a strategy that won him praise as a “marketing genius” from his aides, Kennedy recounted.
Kennedy ignored a nondisclosure agreement he had been required to sign and sent an anonymous complaint to the House Oversight Committee, he told the magazine. He quit in April.
The supply operation was like a “family office meets organized crime, melded with ‘Lord of The Flies,’” Kennedy said.
“It was a government of chaos,” he added.
There was no immediate response from the White House. It wasn’t clear what happened to his complaint to Congress.
Read the entire New Yorker article here.
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