Arizona Republicans praised Donald Trump for providing 2% of the help the state requested.
The Trump administration once again fell short of providing a state what it needs to help save lives during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
On Friday, Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, announced that Arizona would receive 100 ventilators from the national stockpile, falling far short of what the state requested.
On March 25, Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said that the state requested 5,000 ventilators and planned on requesting an additional 5,000. At the time, Christ expected COVID-19 cases to peak in mid-April and hospitalizations to peak in mid-May.
A little over a week later, on April 6, Arizona lowered its request to just 500 ventilators from the federal stockpile. Christ told the Associated Press the number was adjusted in part because the state realized there was no way the original need could be met by the federal government, given competing needs across the country.
However, according to Ducey's statement, the Trump administration will send just one-fifth of that request.
A report published in late March by the Center for Public Integrity found that the administration has only 16,600 ventilators in the national stockpile. Health experts said that 16,600 ventilators are not nearly enough for even a mild outbreak of the new coronavirus.
But reports have also shown that the Trump administration couldn't meet states' requests for ventilators because it failed to adequately stockpile ventilators as the crisis began.
An investigation by Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA), a member of the House Oversight Committee, found that that exports of ventilators from the U.S. increased from January to February even though the Trump administration was aware that the coronavirus pandemic could cause massive problems in the country.
The report concluded that "the Trump administration failed to prepare for COVID-19 and to protect the health of Americans."
In March, the New York Times reported that Ford and General Electric were working together to manufacture ventilators which will be ready in early June. The report noted that if the Trump administration had acted with more urgency, the companies could have "reacted to the acute shortage of ventilators in February," producing the equipment by "mid- to late April."
The fulfillment of just 2% of the original request did not stop the state's governor and Republican senator, Martha McSally, from effusively praising Trump.
"THANK YOU, President Trump for listening to our request and making this happen!" Ducey tweeted on Friday.
"I spoke with @realDonaldTrump on Wednesday afternoon to request additional ventilators from the Strategic National Stockpile. Today, POTUS delivers with 100 ventilators headed to AZ," McSally tweeted on Friday evening. "Thank you to President Trump and @VP for hearing our call."
The announcement that Arizona would receive ventilators was the second time in a week that the Trump administration sent a state fewer ventilators than requested.
On Wednesday, Trump announced Colorado would receive 100 ventilators after the state requested 10,000 ventilators.
The announcement followed a controversy where a purchase of 500 ventilators by Colorado was canceled because the Federal Emergency Management Agency bought them out from under the state.
"It's a racket," state Sen. Jessie Danielson, a Democrat, tweeted at the time. "This is literally racketeering. The White House is keeping 80% of the ventilators they stole from Colorado — and bestowing 20% of what they stole as a political favor."
From the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, the Trump administration has been criticized for a chaotic and unprepared response.
Some states received broken ventilators, expired masks, and faulty medical equipment from the national stockpile, Time magazine reported in early April. More than 6,000 masks sent to Alabama had dry rot, and the administration sent 150 broken ventilators to Los Angeles.
Rather than take responsibility, Trump has previously blamed governors for any problems.
"Governors are supposed to be doing a lot of this work," Trump said at a March 19 White House briefing. "The federal government is not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items and then shipping. You know, we're not a shipping clerk."
As of Monday morning, Arizona had at least 3,539 COVID-19 cases, and at least 117 people had died. Nationally, there are more than 555,000 cases and at least 20,056 people have died.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.