The Strategic National Stockpile website specifically says it's for state and local use.
White House adviser Jared Kushner on Thursday defended the federal government's slow response to the COVID-19 pandemic — and in the process wrongly claimed that the Strategic National Stockpile of medical supplies is not actually intended for state and local use.
"The notion of the federal stockpile was it's supposed to be our stockpile. It's not supposed to be states' stockpiles that they then use," Kushner said at Donald Trump's daily coronavirus task force briefing.
The Strategic National Stockpile website says the exact opposite.
"When state, local, tribal, and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts, the stockpile ensures that the right medicines and supplies get to those who need them most during an emergency," it reads. "Organized for scalable response to a variety of public health threats, this repository contains enough supplies to respond to multiple large-scale emergencies simultaneously."
States do have their own stockpiles.
But some governors say there is not enough equipment in them to handle the COVID-19 pandemic. And they're pleading for Donald Trump to go into the national stockpile to provide lifesaving ventilators and personal protective equipment for medical professionals on the front lines.
New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, for example, said Thursday that his state will exhaust its stockpile of ventilators in less than a week.
However, Trump has been slow to respond, questioning how many ventilators states really need, and telling governors to procure the devices and other emergency equipment themselves.
Meanwhile, California, which received items from the national stockpile, reported that many of the ventilators don't work, and Montgomery County in Alabama got N95 respirator masks from the stockpile that were expired and rotted.
Kushner — Trump's son-in-law — took to the podium on Thursday for the first time at a coronavirus task force briefing to defend the administration's response.
"When you have governors saying federal government has not given them what they need, I would urge you to ask them, 'Have you looked within your state to make sure you have not been able to find the resources?'" he said.
Kushner is tasked with solving multiple high-level problems the United States faces despite having no experience in the given areas.
Trump tasked Kushner with brokering a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, even though he has no experience or background in the decades-long conflict between the two groups.
And according to the Washington Post, Kushner has taken it upon himself to form a "shadow" coronavirus task force to help with the pandemic.
The Post reported that Kushner's shadow task force is "causing confusion" in the administration, with staff not knowing whether Kushner's requests are to be considered official orders.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.