FEMA Decides, Unless Trump or Jared Does

April 11, 2020 7:19 p.m.

The Washington Post has a new story out about the chaotic and overlapping efforts to acquire and distribute medical supplies across the country. We get yet more evidence that FEMA is routinely jumping into private transactions, either at the front end of overruling a purchase or seizing it when it’s being transported to whatever hospital or state purchased it. As my hospital system board member source told me a couple days ago this isn’t just happening it’s pervasive.

According to the Post, one state is considering sending police or even the National Guard to greet chartered flights from China bringing goods. Despite FEMA’s denials there is overwhelming evidence that this is happening. And in other public comments they discuss doing it. The question is where those intercepted orders are going. And here the Post story provides the most significant morsel.

Some of the states are seeking supplies, this official said, for items they say they might need in several weeks. Decisions are made by FEMA, but recommendations sometimes come from Trump, Vice President Pence, Kushner and others based on their interactions with states.

“FEMA makes the decision, but it’s not like FEMA is going to do the opposite of what the president tells them to do,” a second official said.

This I think tells everything we need to know. FEMA makes the decisions, unless President Trump says to send stuff somewhere else. Or unless Jared Kushner does. I don’t get the sense that either of these men are operating at scale enough to even try to direct everything. But that they can and do direct some of the supplies answers the question. What priorities or data would either man possibly use to overrule whatever metric of need FEMA is applying? It speaks for itself.

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