Ned Lamont, the Democrat governor of Connecticut, claimed on Tuesday that the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile of medical supplies is now empty and alleged that the state is now on its own in securing ventilators and masks to fight the coronavirus pandemic without the help of the federal government.
“It was disturbing today to find out that the national strategic stockpile is now empty. We did get 50 ventilators, for which I am very thankful,” Governor Lamont said. “For now we are on our own. For now, we are doing the best to scour the globe for PPE (personal protective equipment) as best we can.”
This, it turns out, was not true. President Trump was asked about Lamont’s claim during the Coronavirus Task Force press briefing, and he explained what’s really happening.
“It’s not emptied, let me explain something. What we’re doing […] rather than having it brought into the stockpile, where appropriate […] we’re trying to have supplies sent directly to the states,” Trump explained. “Because we don’t want medical supplies coming into warehouses all over the place and then we take them from there and bring them to another warehouse. So we’re having them brought, ideally, from the manufacturer directly to the hospital or the state where it’s going.”
.@realDonaldTrump disputes @GovNedLamont claim that the Strategic National Stockpile was empty… explains that supplies are being sent from manufacturers straight to hospitals. pic.twitter.com/SvpyLSBTpz
— Matt Margolis 🇺🇸 (@mattmargolis) March 31, 2020
Trump also noted that when he took office the Strategic National Stockpile was “virtually empty,” a direct reference to the fact that the Obama administration depleted the stockpile of N95 respirator masks and medical supplies during the H1N1 pandemic and never replenished it.
Why would Governor Lamont make such a claim, implying that the Trump administration was no longer helping states because they’d run of out supplies? Is that helpful? Maybe for a Democrat who wants Trump to be damaged politically, it is.
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis