For weeks questions have been swirling about the Trump administration's refusal to release critical life-saving medical equipment and supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile, the Trump administration's refusal to actually force manufacturers to produce critical life-saving medical equipment and supplies, and the Trump administration's refusal to answer questions about its very different supply chain tactics surrounding critical life-saving medical equipment and supplies.
Senior advisor to the President Jared Kushner's insistence one week ago that the Strategic National Stockpile was "ours" and "not the states'" drew both attention and outrage to the issue, and now it appears the press has some answers.
JARED KUSHNER: "The notion of the federal stockpile was it's supposed to be our stockpile. It's not supposed to be… https://t.co/Eo4EtTEmSF— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar)1585869361.0
The answers are grotesquely and inhumanely disturbing.
First, the Trump administration has allegedly been forcing manufacturers to cancel orders from the states, buying those desperately needed products, handing them over to retail operators, who in turn are rumored to be re-selling them back to the states – often at a tremendous, exponential markup.
That's one reported tactic.
Others accuse the federal government "of intercepting shipments of vital medical equipment ordered by state authorities to shore up their supplies in the face of the coronavirus crisis."
On Thursday The Denver Post Editorial Board accused President Trump of "playing a disgusting political game with our lives."
"Trump is treating life-saving medical equipment as emoluments he can dole out as favors to loyalists. It’s the worst imaginable form of corruption — playing political games with lives. For the good of this nation during what should be a time of unity, he must stop."
On Wednesday trump posted this tweet:
Will be immediately sending 100 Ventilators to Colorado at the request of Senator Gardner! https://t.co/Nj4EPxfZl6— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1586349961.0
"Trump had only days before prevented Colorado Gov. Jared Polis from securing 500 ventilators from a private company, instead, taking the ventilators for the federal government," The Post reported.
So Trump tried to look like a hero by stealing 500 ventilators, then "generously" giving their original purchaser 100 of them.
Talking Points Memo notes that Sen. Gardner is "one of the most endangered Republicans on the ballot this year."
"We still know too little about what is happening and on what basis the White House is intercepting and distributing these scarce materials. One reason is that those who lose their shipments are afraid to speak out because they fear antagonizing the White House and losing any chance to get their masks and supplies returned," TPM Editor Josh Marshall notes,
"For all the confusion, what is clear is that the federal government is demanding that states, localities and hospital systems find their own supplies while systematically interdicting those they do purchase and rerouting them in other directions while providing no explanation of what standards are being used to distribute them. At the same time, Republican officeholders keep turning up announcing windfalls of medical supplies courtesy of the President."
How or if any of this is legal remains unknown.