White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said President Donald Trump was “very forthcoming” about the threat of coronavirus.
During a Tuesday appearance on NBC’s “Today,” Kushner defended his father-in-law’s approach to informing the public about the pandemic amid controversy that the president downplayed the threat of the virus.
"The president was very forthcoming with the American people about what he knew and when he knew it," Kushner told host Savannah Guthrie. "President Trump, obviously, he banned travel from China, he banned travel from Europe. This was an unprecedented pandemic and as different facts evolved, the president informed the public."
A forthcoming book by journalist Bob Woodward details interviews of Trump saying he wanted to downplay the threat of the virus in March in order to keep people calm.
Kushner also addressed concerns people raised about an indoor rally the president hosted on Sunday in Las Vegas. People packed inside and did not social distance or wear masks.
"Look, President Trump believes that people should make their own decisions," Kushner said about the event, adding they provided guidance for people to follow.
"Again, we have to figure out how to live our lives to some degree as well," he continued. "President Trump is not part of this 'let's lock down for perpetuity.' People want to live their lives, they want to do what they want to do. Again, we're giving guidelines on how to do it safely."
Kushner then praised Trump for his efforts to normalize relations in the Middle East. Leaders of Israel, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates were scheduled to meet at the White House on Tuesday to sign an agreement that Kushner helped broker.
The last time a peace deal like this occurred was between Israel and Jordan in 1994.
"I think what you're seeing now is the beginning of the end of the Israel-Arab conflict that has been going on for a long time," Kushner said. "This really signals the beginning of the president bringing people together. A lot of people said when President Trump was elected that he'd be bringing war and chaos, but what he's bringing today is peace."
He noted that Trump has been nominated twice for a Nobel Peace Prize award for his work in the Middle East.
"So this will hopefully reduce tension in the region, bring people closer together and long term make the Middle East much more stable."
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