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Totally Under Control Clip: How Volunteers Ran Jared Kushner’s COVID-19 Task Force

Concerned that there was a lack of leadership in the United States when the pandemic broke out? Don’t worry, the White House COVID-19 Supply Chain Task Force reportedly put interns in charge of securing PPE for Americans. This exclusive preview of Academy Award–winner Alex Gibney’s latest documentary, Totally Under Control, exposes the alleged incompetence at the top of the pandemic response team, and it didn’t stem from the unpaid college students. “My old boss called me and said that he heard that Jared Kushner’s task force needed younger volunteers who had general skills and were willing to work seven days a week for no money,” says “whistleblower” Max Kennedy Jr., Robert Kennedy’s grandson. “And if you fit those criteria, then you should head to D.C. and help with the pandemic response.” But when he and the nine other 20-something volunteers arrived, they realized they were the task force. With no experience in supply chains or federal procurement operations, and apparently little effective help from the government, they say they used their private laptops, personal email addresses, and relationships with business owners to try and find PPE. “We would call factories and say, ‘We think the federal government can send you a check in 60 days,’” Kennedy says in the clip. “They would say, ‘There’s someone with a briefcase of cash and they’re offering to pay me right now.’ And we would run around the FEMA building looking for someone who could tell us what payment terms the federal government was allowed to offer and no one ever told us.” Directed by Gibney, Suzanne Hillinger, and Ophelia Harutyunyan, the doc features accounts from scientists, medical professionals, and government officials on what went wrong in the early months of the pandemic. Totally Under Control is available on demand October 13 and Hulu October 20.

Totally Under Control: How Interns Ran a COVID Task Force