President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has taken heat for his claim, during Thursday’s press conference, that the federal stockpile of medical equipment is not intended to help states, and states should have been gathering their own reserves for that purpose.
As The Daily Beast reported Friday, government experts have said Kushner is completely wrong — and the actions of the Trump administration itself prove him wrong too.
“Presidents have dispersed supplies from the national strategic stockpiles for use by states dozens of times over the last twenty years,” wrote national security reporter Erin Blanco. “In fact, the Trump administration itself has dipped into the federal reserves to help states in need. Most notably, in 2017, the administration used the stockpile to send materials such as beds and medical equipment to states ravaged by Hurricane Harvey.”
“He doesn’t know what the hell he is talking about. He has no idea,” said Ret. Gen. Russel Honore, who was at the forefront of such a government effort in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. “He must have remembered something from some slide or some speech. But that’s why people created the national strategic stockpile in the first place. It’s for those days when we can’t predict what we need. What I see is a total misunderstanding by the White House that they have a responsibility to help maintain the stockpile and help states.”
“It shouldn’t be this complicated,” agreed former DHS official Juliette Kayyem. “It’s supposed to happen like a light switch you flip on. And this should have happened a month ago. This is not inventing a vaccine, this is just shipping stuff. In these situations you want a light White House touch and you want the subject matter experts to take the lead.”
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