Jared Kushner, the husband of Ivanka Trump, now has a central role in the White House's response to the coronavirus. During last night's daily briefing, Vice President Mike Pence explained that Kusher would work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to oversee the distribution of much-needed medical supplies to states.
“We’re grateful for his efforts and his leadership,” Pence told reporters.
But after telling reporters how he was working to try and address medical supply chain issues, Kushner accused some governors and U.S. senators of requesting supplies without knowing what they need.
"The notion of the federal stockpile was it’s supposed to be our stockpile,” he said at one point. “It’s not supposed to be state stockpiles that they [the states] then use."
That claim by Kushner doesn't seem to be accurate. Previous to the press conference, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HUD) described the National Stockpile's role as the following: "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."
But according to journalist Laura Bassett, the website has since been edited to state that the stockpile's role "is to supplement state and local supplies during public health emergencies." The site now claims that "many states have products stockpiled, as well." The page was last edited on April 03, 2020.
This is what the website for the federal stockpile said yesterday vs what it says today, after Kushner was caught lying about how states aren’t supposed to be using it. It was changed to say, “Many states have products stockpiled, as well.” https://t.co/kbNXiwaJbX pic.twitter.com/xAtPKIyHnA— Laura Bassett (@LEBassett) April 3, 2020
During the conference, Kushner also went on to say that the crisis has revealed that some leaders are “better managers than others.”
“Some governors you speak to, or senators, and they don’t know what’s in their state,” he added. “Don’t ask us for things when you don’t know what you have in your own state. Just because you’re scared, you ask your medical professionals and they don’t know. You have to take inventory of what you have in your own state and then you have to be able to show that there’s a real need.”
Unsurprisingly, Kushner's first appearance attracted some criticism. “Is this a joke????” Sunny Hostin, co-host of ABC’s The View asked. "Why is Jared Kushner, someone with absolutely no medical background, speaking about a global pandemic and opining about managerial competence?!!! He couldn’t even pass a security clearance."
While another added: "Our Stockpile? Does Jared Kushner understand that the taxpayer funds the federal government?"
The best way to prevent contracting or spreading coronavirus is with thorough hand washing and social distancing. If you feel you may be experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, which include persistent cough (usually dry), fever, shortness of breath, and fatigue, please call your doctor before going to get tested. For comprehensive resources and updates, visit the CDC website. If you are experiencing anxiety about the virus, seek out mental health support from your provider or visit NAMI.org.