Shortly after White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said at a Thursday press briefing that the Strategic National Stockpile is not meant for states’ use, language was scrubbed from and altered on government websites to reflect Kushner’s claim.
“The state still has a stockpile and the notion of the federal stockpile was it’s supposed to be our stockpile,” Kushner said at a briefing about the coronavirus pandemic. “It’s not supposed to be states’ stockpiles that they then use.”
“So I would just encourage you, when you have governors saying that the federal government hasn’t given them what they need, I would just urge you to ask them, ‘well have you looked within your state to make sure that you haven’t been able to find the resources?'” he continued.
As captured by journalist Laura Bassett and noted by the Washington Post, the original description of the stockpile on the Public Health Emergency subsection of the Health and Human Services site characterized it as “the nation’s largest supply of life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for use in a public health emergency severe enough to cause local supplies to run out.”
It added: “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.”
The new language, published as of Friday morning, describes it as a “short-term stopgap” and emphasized state’s stores of supplies.
“Many states have products stockpiled, as well,” it now reads. “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.”
These attempts to bolster Kushner’s claim are stranger given that the President’s son-in-law appears to be trying to make a case that the stockpile is not specifically there to fulfill states’ needs — the very purpose for which it was created.
In a 2001 “Description of the US National Pharmaceutical Stockpile Program,” as the stockpile was previously known, the Centers for Disease Control acknowledge that “Few U.S. state or local governments have the resources to create sufficient pharmaceutical stockpiles on their own,” adding that the stockpile was created to address the need.
President Donald Trump also critiqued states’ requests for help in combating the pandemic Thursday, calling them “insatiable.”
Massive amounts of medical supplies, even hospitals and medical centers, are being delivered directly to states and hospitals by the Federal Government. Some have insatiable appetites & are never satisfied (politics?). Remember, we are a backup for them. The complainers should…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 2, 2020