As Vice President Mike Pence (R) looks on, Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner addresses a White House briefing, April 2, 2020 (Getty)

US unemployment claims soar to 6.6 million per week, as Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner takes charge of the Coronavirus crisis by blaming State governors.

The claims, for the week ending 28 March, doubled the 3.3 million of the previous week. Before last month, the weekly record was 695,000, set in 1982.

As Coronavirus spreads across the US, applications for benefits have risen more than 3,000% in a month.

See also EA on talkRADIO: Coronavirus — Economic Shock in the US

The US death toll reached 6,057 late Thursday, amid 245,559 confirmed cases. The toll passed 1,000 eight days ago; 2,000 on Saturday; 3,000 on Monday; and 5,000 on Wednesday.

The immediate economic shock has pushed the estimated unemployment rate to at least 9.5%. Some economists said the real figure could be up to 17%, compared to 3.5% before the outbreak of the virus. THey characterized the news as Economists described the increase as “monstrous,” “stunningly awful,” and “a portrait of disaster.”

Thursday’s White House briefing opened with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Small Business Administration head Jovita Carranza describing the first payouts from the $2 trillion stimulus package approved by Congress last week.

Mnuchin was upbeat about a $350 billion loan program to prop up small businesses, and said the first $1,200 payments to US taxpayers will be despatched in two weeks.

But he faced challenges from journalists, with Democratic legislators saying that some Americans will not receive their support checks until the summer.

And business leaders are sceptical. James Brower, a partner at New York accounting firm Marks Paneth, explained:

It’s utter chaos. Business owners are clamoring for this money. They want to pay their people….

We’re now hearing from bankers that they may not want to get into the program because the law doesn’t have a whole lot of specifics in it, yet the phone lines are jammed with business owners begging for loan applications.

“They’re not ready at all, they’re desperately awaiting guidance on how to do this,” said Ami Kassar, CEO of small business loan advisory firm MultiFunding. “I think it’s going to be a mess for weeks.”

Brock Blake of the small business loan marketplace Lendio tweeted:

Kushner-Trump Blame Game

The White House briefing soon turned into a spotlight for Trump’s son-in-law Kushner to claim that all is well because he is in charge of White House efforts.

Kushner, a real estate developer, has made himself the point man for agency responses, amid a belated, fragmented, and often chaotic Administration response. He promoted a nationwide screening website and a widespread network of drive-through testing sites, but neither appeared. He said he was brokering a deal between the White House and General Motors for life-saving ventilators, but the talks collapsed.

With State Governors warning of imminent exhaustion of ventilators and essential medical supplies, Kushner has overseen a supply effort which has delivered little to many states and given equipment to some who have not made formal requests.

TrumpWatch, Day 1,168: Coronavirus — US Deaths Pass 5,000 Amid Exhaustion of Medical Supplies

But Kushner has told other White House advisors of “his own abilities, saying that he’s figured out how to make the government effective”, and on Thursday he focused on blaming State governors.

Officials had proclaimed the supply of 7,600 ventilators to five states, failing to note that New York State alone is estimated to need 37,000 by the end of April.

Trump’s son-in-law absolved the Administration and cast blame, “Some governors you speak to or senators, and they don’t know what’s in their state.”

With an eye on November’s elections, he bigged up himself and Trump, while continuing his derogation of the State leaders.

What a lot of the voters are seeing now is that when you elect somebody to be a mayor or governor or President, you are trying to think about who will be a competent manager during the time of crisis.

This is a time of crisis, and you’re seeing certain people are better managers than others.

For weeks, Trump has assailed Governors, partly to divert attention from his mismanagement, partly from anger at praise they have been receiving for their actions in the face of the Federal Government’s lack of coordination.

He has regularly insulted Washington’s Jay Inslee and Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer and accused New York’s Andrew Cuomo of keeping ventilators in storage and allowing supplies to be stolen. Last week, he summarized:

A lot of equipment is being asked for that I don’t think they will need….Some of these governors, you know, they take, take, take, and then they complain. You build them a hospital, and then they’re always complaining.

Yesterday he again disowned his responsibility in the crisis and pointed at the States:

Trump lied, “We’ve been building up our stockpile. We’ve been building it, we’ve been supplying it.”

Department of Homeland Security officials said this week that the National Emergency Stockpile is almost exhausted.

“An Expression of Ignorance”

Trump piled on the attacks in a Thursday letter to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who represents New York State.

He opened by sniping at “your Democratic public relations letter and incorrect sound bites, which are wrong in every way”.

Defying the situation in shortages in New York, the epicenter of the crisis, Trump insisted, “We have given New York many things.”

He continued, “You should have had New York much better prepared than you did,” and closed:

If you spent less time in your ridiculous impeachment hoax, which went haplessly on forever and ending up going nowhere (except increasing my poll numbers” and instead focused on helping the people of New York, then New York would not have been so completely unprepared for the “invisible enmey”.

No wonder AOC [Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez] and others are thinking about running against you in the primary. If they did, they would probably win.

Sen. Kamala Harris responded: