Note: Following Jared Kushner’s comment late last week that the Strategic National Stockpile is meant for federal use and not intended for states’ need and the Department of Health & Human Services subsequently revising its website to reflect that comment, Lisa Rosenberg, executive director of Open The Government, released the following statement:
It’s not enough that the Trump administration clamped down on information sharing by health experts at critical phases of the global coronavirus pandemic that has now claimed more than 10,000 lives in the U.S. alone. Judging from Jared Kushner’s recent insensitive statement about the Strategic National Stockpile, the nation’s repository of critical medical supplies, being “our stockpile” not “states’ stockpile that they then use,” the Trump administration doesn’t just want to hide information that the public needs to survive, it would also rather hoard vital federal medicines and supplies from Americans during a national emergency based on the lack of understanding that states make up our nation.
As if this mind-boggling interpretation of the purpose of the national stockpile was not bad enough, the Department of Health and Human Services piled on the outrage by changing the wording on its website after the fact to support Kushner’s alternate reality. Prior to Kushner’s pronouncement, the site stated the stockpile is for “use in a public health emergency severe enough to cause local supplies to run out,” reflecting the historical and common sense understanding of the purpose of the national stockpile. Within hours the site was changed to reflect Kushner’s alternate reality. This latest demoralizing display is just one more example of the Trump administration’s mismanagement of the coronavirus and its willingness to cover up its errors through secrecy and deception.