Jared Kushner said Trump put Pence in charge of the US coronavirus response because ‘he didn’t have anything else to do,’ book says

Jared Kushner on the left and Mike Pence behind him on the right at a briefing with the White House logo visible behind both.
Jared Kushner, left, and Mike Pence, right. Win McNamee/Getty Images
  • Vice President Mike Pence was put in charge of fighting the coronavirus pandemic last year.
  • A new book on the final year of Trump’s presidency sheds light on that decision.
  • Jared Kushner said Pence got the job because “he didn’t have anything else to do,” it reportedly says.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

An upcoming book sheds light on President Donald Trump’s thinking when he tapped his vice president, Mike Pence, to lead the battle against the coronavirus pandemic last year.

I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year,” by the Washington Post journalists Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, is set to be released next week. On Wednesday, The Daily Beast published a preview of the book.

According to The Daily Beast, the book detailed an interaction between Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and advisor, and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar at the end of February 2020, when the virus began to spread out of control in the US.

Kushner told Azar that Trump had installed Pence as the coronavirus czar because “he didn’t have anything else to do,” the book said, according to The Daily Beast.

Trump, Pence, Kushner, and Azar did not immediately return Insider’s requests for comment on the book excerpt.

Trump and Pence appeared to have a strained relationship during their time in office.

The author Michael Wolff’s latest book, “Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency,” said the two men’s weekly lunches typically consisted of Pence having 10 minutes to tell Trump “exactly how hard he was working for him” before Trump turned on the TV.

In the final days of Trump’s presidency, Pence fell out with Trump when he refused to overturn the results of the election. While Pence never had the power to do so, Trump believed that his vice president could stop the certification of Joe Biden’s win.

In recent weeks, Pence has strongly indicated that he will run for the White House himself in 2024. Trump has been doing the same.