White House senior advisor Jared Kushner drew criticism after he said the national stockpile of medical supplies belonged to the federal government, not the states, during a coronavirus task force briefing on Thursday.

The president’s son-in-law rarely makes public appearances but has been a part of the coronavirus task force under directions from Vice President Mike Pence.

“The notion of the federal stockpile is that it’s supposed to be our stockpile,” Kushner said when asked about states’ need for supplies. “It’s not supposed to be states’ stockpiles that they then use.”


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He added, “When you have governors saying that the federal government hasn’t given them what they need, I would encourage you to ask them, have you looked within your state to make sure you haven’t been able to find the resources?”

Former Press Secretary in the Clinton administration, Joe Lockhart, poked fun at Kushner’s comments tweeting, “Does anyone know any federal Americans? Where do they live? How many are there? Are they nice? Why do they need some much protective gear and ventilators[?]”

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-California) tweeted to Kushner: “We are the UNITED STATES of America. The federal stockpile is reserved for all Americans living in our states, not just federal employees. Get it?”

President Donald Trump has previously objected to governors’ requests for masks, ventilators and gloves, believing the states were overstating how much they needed.

“I think that a lot of things are being said that are more,” Trump said last week. “I don’t think certain things will materialize, a lot of equipment is being asked for that I don’t think they’ll need.”

The government has failed to procure equipment requested by states, sending only a fraction of what was asked for, if any at all.

According to Federal Emergency Management Agency documents that were released by the House Oversight Committee on Thursday Delaware, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia collectively requested 5.2 million N95 masks and received only 445,000, 194 million pairs of gloves and received 991,000, as well as 15,000 body bags and received none.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said the state bought 7,000 ventilators, bringing its total to 10,000. The state has been hit the hardest, reporting more than 100,000 coronavirus cases. Cuomo said New York will need 30,000 more ventilators as the pandemic begins to peak.

Trump has sent New York 400 ventilators so far, USA Today reported. Trump has promised to send an additional 4,000 from the stockpile this week.

Trump said Tuesday that the federal government is withholding 10,000 ventilators as it anticipates the pandemic peaking. The stockpile holds just over 16,000 ventilators, 2,000 of which are defunct due to lack of maintenance.

Some states have received broken equipment from the stockpile.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said the federal government sent Los Angeles “170 broken ventilators,” that they were able to fix.

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