Jared Kushner, whose endless list of job responsibilities now includes pandemic response, said Thursday that the items in the Strategic National Stockpile belong to the federal government, not the states.
“The notion of the federal stockpile was it’s supposed to be our stockpile,” he said. “It’s not supposed to be states’ stockpiles that they then use.”
The remark didn’t match the language on the stockpile’s website, which said it serves as a lifeline “when state, local, tribal, and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts.”
At least, that’s what the website said on Thursday. By Friday, the text was changed. Now the stockpile’s website says its role is to “supplement state and local supplies during public health emergencies.” It goes on: “Many states have products stockpiled, as well. The supplies, medicines, and devices for life-saving care contained in the stockpile can be used as a short-term stopgap buffer when the immediate supply of adequate amounts of these materials may not be immediately available.”
President Trump on Thursday tweeted that some states have “insatiable appetites & are never satisfied (politics?).” He wrote that the National Strategic Stockpile is a “backup” and “complainers should have been stocked up and ready long before this crisis hit.” Meanwhile, the states hardest hit by coronavirus are working desperately to meet a growing demand for ventilators. On Thursday, New York governor Andrew Cuomo said at the current “burn rate,” the state will be out of ventilators on Sunday.