National Stockpile makes bumbling change to its site — apparently covering up for Jared Kushner’s jaw-dropping gaffe

National Stockpile makes bumbling change to its site — apparently covering up for Jared Kushner’s jaw-dropping gaffe
Image via Screengrab.

When White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner spoke at a coronavirus-related news conference on Thursday evening, he argued that the United States’ Strategic National Stockpile was exclusively the property of the federal government — not a resource for individual states. And since then, Politico’s Quint Forgey reports, the language used on the stockpile’s website has been changed to reflect Kushner’s assertions.

At the news conference, Kushner told reporters, “The notion of the federal stockpile was: it’s supposed to be our stockpile. It’s not supposed to be states’ stockpiles that they then use.”

Before that news conference, the website described the stockpile 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."

But the following morning, the website said that the stockpile’s role “is to supplement state and local supplies during public health emergencies. Many states have products stockpiled as well.” The line about the stockpile ensuring that "state, local, tribal, and territorial" responders have what they need was completely removed.

Forgey noted that “President Donald Trump and the White House have repeatedly sparred with state and local authorities over their requests for ventilators, personal protective equipment and other critical medical supplies amid the coronavirus pandemic.”

One state authority stressing the need for more ventilators in his state is New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Repeatedly, Cuomo has warned that hospitals in New York State could run out of life-saving ventilators as the number of people infected with coronavirus continues to increase.

On Twitter, CNN reporter Daniel Dale asserted that the website’s new description of the Strategic National Stockpile’s purpose was inconsistent with the type of language used on other parts of the site. Dale explains, "The style of the new ‘as well’ sentence — ‘many states have products stockpiled, as well’ — is so clearly different than the rest of the Stockpile website.”

To make his point, Dale tweeted screenshots of what the stockpile’s website said before Kushner spoke at the Thursday evening press conference and what it said after he spoke.

In another tweet, Dale noted, “After Jared Kushner’s comment about how the Strategic National Stockpile is not supposed to be for states, lots of people pointed to the fact that its own website says it is. The language on the website has now been changed.”

The Washington’s Post Aaron Blake also made a before-and-after comparison, tweeting screenshots of the Stockpile’s website on Thursday compared to Friday morning.

Former federal prosecutor Joyce White Vance (a University of Alabama Law School professor and legal analyst for MSNBC) had a biting response to Kushner’s comments on the Stockpile, tweeting, “Your tax dollars weren’t being spent to protect your life after all, according to Jared.”

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