Trump berates CBS News' Weijia Jiang for her 'nasty tone' after she asked him to clarify Jared Kushner's statements about the national stockpile
President Donald Trump berated a female reporter's "nasty tone" after she asked him to clarify comments made by his son-in-law and White House advisor Jared Kushner the previous day. CBS News' Weijia Jiang asked Trump to explain Kushner's apparent assertion the day before that the Strategic National Stockpile was not intended for the states to use, but rather the federal government. The stockpile was established to supplement states' medical supplies during a health crisis or biochemical attack. "It's such a basic simple question and you try and make it sound so bad," Trump said, adding, "You ought to be ashamed."
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President Donald Trump berated reporters at a Friday evening briefing of the White House coronavirus task force for asking him to clarify confusing statements made by Jared Kushner, a White House advisor and his son-in-law, at a news conference the previous day. CBS News' Weijia Jiang asked Trump to explain Kushner's apparent assertion that the Strategic National Stockpile, a national supply of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment reserved for a health crisis, was intended for the federal government but not for the states. Kushner had said Thursday that "the notion of the federal stockpile was it's supposed to be our stockpile — it's not supposed to be state stockpiles that they then use." It was Kushner's assertion that the resource was "our stockpile" that caused confusion, as it seemed to imply that the stockpile was not meant for states to use, even though the program was in fact intended to supplement states' supplies during a health or biochemical crisis, as The Washington Post explained. White House reporters sought clarity from Trump several times about Kushner's remarks over the course of the briefing, but when Jiang read Kushner's quote to the president, he grew confrontational. "Why are you asking?" Trump responded before she could finish her question, claiming it was a "gotcha" question.
WATCH: Asked about Jared Kushner's remarks yesterday that the national stockpile is "ours," the president chides the reporter for a "gotcha" question asked in a "nasty" tone.Learn more: https://t.co/VzJlbfCjqq#11thHour #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/IzmRLvYnKz — 11th Hour (@11thHour) April 3, 2020
"You know what 'our' means? United States of America that's what it means," Trump continued. "And then we take that 'our,' and we distribute it to the states." As Jiang attempted to press him on what Kushner's wording means for the states, Trump began to berate her questioning. "It's such a basic simple question and you try and make it sound so bad," Trump said. "You ought to be, you ought to be ashamed, you know what? You ought to be ashamed." "You said 'our', and 'our' means for the country, and 'our' means for the states because the states are a part of the country," Trump continued. "Don't make it sound bad." The president then called on another reporter, but as Jiang tried to continue to follow up, Trump told her, "You just asked your question in a very nasty tone." A second, male, reporter followed up on Jiang's question, asking, "isn't [the stockpile] designed to be able to distribute to the states?" "It's also needed for the federal government," Trump said. "We have a federal stockpile and they have state stockpiles, and frankly they were many of the states were totally unprepared for this. So we had to go into the federal stockpile. But we're not an ordering clerk. They have to have for themselves." Reporters were seeking clarification about Kushner's words the day before Kushner had caused confusion at a Thursday briefing, when he seemed to imply that the national strategic stockpile was not meant for state use. "You also have a situation where in some states FEMA allocated ventilators to the states, and you have instances where in cities they're running out but the state still has a stockpile," he said. Kushner continued, "And the notion of the federal stockpile was it's supposed to be our stockpile — it's not supposed to be state stockpiles that they then use." "So we're encouraging the states to make sure that they're assessing the needs, they're getting the data from their local situations, and then trying to fill it with the supplies that we've given them," Kusher said. On Friday, journalists with GQ and The Washington Post pointed out that the language on the Department of Health and Human Services website had been changed to reflect Kushner's wording.
The Trump administration just changed its language about the Strategic National Stockpile on an HHS website to jibe with Jared Kushner's claim that this isn't for the states.(h/t @LEBassett)Before vs. After: pic.twitter.com/yD4O2b1IEw — Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) April 3, 2020
The stockpile was the brainchild of President Bill Clinton, who, in 1998, pushed for the creation of such a reserve after reading a novel about a fictional bioterrorism event, TIME reported. A 2001 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention described the National Strategic Stockpile, then known as the National Pharmaceutical Stockpile (NPS), as "a national repository of pharmaceuticals, antidotes to chemical poisons, supplies for administering drugs, and emergency medical equipment for rapid deployment to the site of a biological or chemical terrorism. The NPS Program is designed to supplement and re-supply state and local public health agencies in the event of a biological or chemical terrorism incident anywhere, at any time within the US or its territories." Though it is clear that the stockpile was maintained by the federal government, it was also clearly designed to supplement and supply states during a crisis.SEE ALSO: Jared Kushner, who's operating a 'shadow' coronavirus task force, appears not to know why federal emergency stockpiles exist SEE ALSO: Trump claims without evidence that Wisconsin's governor wants to move the primary to stop a conservative justice from getting elected. Gov. Evers requested the change because of the coronavirus. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: A law professor weighs in on how Trump could beat impeachment
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An explosive new documentary details how Jared Kushner's coronavirus task force consisted mainly of 20-something volunteers buying PPE with personal email accounts
Summary List Placement When Max Kennedy Jr. volunteered to help out on Jared Kushner's White House...Summary List Placement When Max Kennedy Jr. volunteered to help out on Jared Kushner's White House COVID-19 Supply Chain Task Force, he thought he'd be helping out senior staff with rote tasks like data entry. "My old boss called me and said he heard Kushner's task force needed younger volunteers who had general skills and were willing to work seven days a week for no money," Kennedy, now 27, said in the forthcoming documentary about the Trump team's coronavirus response, "Totally Under Control." The film, which was made in secret over the past five months, is slated for on-demand release on October 13. Despite his "apprehension" about working for the Trump administration, Kennedy volunteered because he felt like it was the right thing to do, he said. So Kennedy traveled to Washington, DC, and showed up at the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Once there, he said volunteers were led to Conference Room A, a windowless underground meeting space. TVs covered the walls, all blaring Fox News. After they sat down, Kennedy said representatives from FEMA and the military came in and gave them a "pep talk." The officials told volunteers they needed to procure "the stuff" for the US government — Kennedy said they were referring to personal protective equipment, or PPE. Then the officials left, leaving Kennedy and the other volunteers. Slowly, they realized what was happening. "We thought we'd be auxiliary support for an existing procurement team," Kennedy, who is the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, said in the film. "Instead, we were the team." Kennedy said he and a dozen inexperienced volunteers had become a core component of the US government's efforts to procure PPE. A severe shortage of PPE across the US Kushner formed the COVID-19 Supply Chain Task Force in March to address what had become a pressing issue: the US's severe shortage of PPE and other medical equipment. Already, hospitals in many regions were running out of masks and ventilators, and workers were making single-use masks last over several days. One surgeon in Fresno, California, told The New York Times it was like being "at war with no ammo." There were multiple reasons for these shortages, including a lack of preparations by previous administrations — many of the Strategic National Stockpile's 12 million N95 masks were expired, for instance. But in February, the Trump administration created the "CS China COVID Procurement Service," which existed partly to encourage American producers like 3M to sell their entire inventories of N95 masks to China. One month later, when American hospitals desperately needed N95 masks, they were forced to import them and pay up to 10 times more than the price that American producers would have charged, according to the documentary. Using personal email accounts to buy critical supplies For the rest of March and well into April, Kennedy sat in Conference Room A with the other volunteers, whom he said had no experience in supply chains or medical issues. With very little direction, the team members opened up their personal laptops and got to work, Kennedy said. "We started cold emailing people we knew who had business relationships in China, looking for factories online, and emailing them from our personal Gmail accounts," Kennedy said in the film. The group was also told to prioritize leads from "VIPs," which mostly consisted of well-connected and wealthy Trump supporters, BuzzFeed News and The New York Times previously reported. The task force kept track of such leads in a spreadsheet called "VIP Updates." One "VIP," the Silicon Valley engineer Yaron Oren-Pines, received a $69 million contract to provide 1,000 ventilators to New York state after he tweeted at the president, Business Insider previously reported. Oren-Pines never delivered, and the state has tried to get its money back. As the team worked, the TVs kept playing Fox News 24/7, Kennedy said, adding that he remembered the channel's coronavirus-death counter ticking steadily upward. Kennedy said nobody told the other volunteers how to buy PPE Buying PPE without any experience or advice turned out to be difficult, largely because Kennedy said he and the other volunteers had no idea how procurement worked, and nobody would tell them. "We would call factories and say, 'We think the federal government can send you a check in 60 days,' and they would say, 'There's someone with a briefcase of cash, and they're offering to pay me right now,'" he said in the film. "And we would run around the FEMA building looking for someone who could tell us what payment terms the government was allowed to offer, and no one ever told us." A week into their work, Kennedy said several government employees walked into Conference Room A and told the volunteers they had to sign nondisclosure agreements. They offered an ultimatum: Sign the NDAs, or leave the room immediately, according to Kennedy. "We all had built our own relationships with manufacturers, and it felt like if we walked away, it would negatively affect our ability to buy this critical, life-saving equipment. And so we all begrudgingly signed the NDA," he said in the film. Kennedy quit the task force in April. That month, he also broke his NDA, sending an anonymous complaint to Congress that said the task force was "falling short." "In my time on the task force, our team did not directly purchase a single mask," he said in the film. Kushner's program was mostly shut down in May, even though state governments and healthcare facilities were still experiencing critical shortages of PPE and ventilators. The White House didn't immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment on the film or Kennedy's characterization of the task force.SEE ALSO: Jared Kushner's shadow coronavirus task force used a spreadsheet called 'VIP Update' to procure PPE from inexperienced Trump allies over legitimate vendors DON'T MISS: A volunteer on Kushner's coronavirus team filed a complaint to Congress warning the group was 'falling short' on helping health care workers Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: The global coronavirus death toll has officially reached 1 million — although experts believe the actual death toll is much higher
Trump blames Russia investigation and his impeachment for not being able to replenish medical supplies during his 3 years as president
President Donald Trump, in an interview with ABC News on Tuesday, said he had "a lot...President Donald Trump, in an interview with ABC News on Tuesday, said he had "a lot of things going on" that prevented his administration from restocking the national stockpile of medical and safety equipment during his three years in the White House. Trump was asked about his previous comments about "empty cupboards" for medical equipment he allegedly inherited from his predecessor and what he did to rectify that deficiency during his three years as president. "Well, I'll be honest. I have [sic] a lot of things going on," Trump said. "We have a lot of people that refused to allow the country to be successful." "Then they did Ukraine, Ukraine; and that was a total hoax," Trump added, referring to a whistleblower complaint that snowballed into his impeachment. "Then they impeached the president of the United States for absolutely no reason." Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. President Donald Trump, in an interview with ABC News on Tuesday, said he had "a lot of things going on" that prevented his administration from restocking the national stockpile of medical equipment safety supplies during his three years in the White House. In the interview, ABC News anchor David Muir referred back to Trump's comments in April, in which the president blamed President Barack Obama and his administration for giving "us empty cupboards" saying it prevented him from effectively combatting the coronavirus in the US. "We started off with a broken system," Trump previously alleged. "We inherited a broken, terrible system. And I always say it, our cupboards were bare. We had very little in our stockpile." The Strategic National Stockpile, which manages the US' medical equipment in the event of a crisis, does not publicly disclose its exact inventory. However, both former Obama officials and Trump officials claimed they warned the current administration about the looming crisis in the event of a pandemic, according to CNN. Trump's trade adviser, Peter Navarro, warned US officials in a memo in late January that the looming health crisis could pose an economic emergency, according to The New York Times. He also called for increased funding for personal protective equipment for health care workers. Speaking to the president after his tour of a mask-making plant in Arizona on Tuesday afternoon, Muir referred to his re-election credentials and asked Trump what he did to address the alleged shortage. "Well, I'll be honest. I have [sic] a lot of things going on," Trump said. "We have a lot of people that refused to allow the country to be successful." "They wasted a lot of time on Russia, Russia, Russia; that turned out to be a total hoax," Trump added, referring to his characterization of the results of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign. The special counsel's office said in its findings that it did not find evidence members of Trump's 2016 presidential campaign "conspired or coordinated with the Russian government." It did, however, find that Russia embarked on a campaign to interfere in the election. Special counsel Robert Mueller said in the report that the SCO was "unable" to charge Trump with a crime because of current federal regulations, but added it did not mean the president was exonerated. "Then they did Ukraine, Ukraine; and that was a total hoax," Trump added, referring to a whistleblower complaint that snowballed into his impeachment. "Then they impeached the president of the United States for absolutely no reason." Trump was impeached on two counts in the House of Representatives, related to a whistleblower complaint that alleged abuse of power in relation to asking a foreign power for investigations into a political rival. He was acquitted of an obstruction-of-Congress charge and abuse of power charge during his February trial that resulted in a party-line vote. Only one Republican, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, voted to convict Trump on the obstruction of Congress charge. As of Tuesday, there were over 1,180,200 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and nearly 70,000 related deaths in the US. Democratic Rep. Andy Kim of New Jersey, a member of a recent bipartisan congressional committee overseeing the nation's coronavirus efforts, told Insider that Trump "has a chance to get this right, right now." "That means massively scaling our testing capabilities, ensuring those who need PPE have access to it and supporting our state and local governments," Kim said. "America needs a federal government dedicated to learning from the past, addressing the present, and preparing for the future."Join the conversation about this story »
Trump blames states for not having enough ventilators, but California is stepping in to help, even as it prepares for a surge in cases
California will lend 500 ventilators to the US federal stockpile, to be used by states like...California will lend 500 ventilators to the US federal stockpile, to be used by states like New York, which are struggling with rising coronavirus caseloads. Oregon and Washington have also committed to sending ventilators to states in need. California is lending the ventilators even as it prepares for an expected surge in coronavirus cases as confirmed COVID-19 case count hits 15,824 in the state, with 372 deaths. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. As President Donald Trump downplays states' needs for ventilators and blames them for failing to buy and keep health care equipment, three states have stepped up and committed to sending ventilators where they're needed. California is the latest state to declare it will lend ventilators to the US stockpile, to be used by states struggling with rising coronavirus caseloads, the Associated Press reported. The US has a nationwide shortage of critical medical supplies. On Monday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced it would send 500 ventilators. He said: "We're very proud to be able to extend a hand of support with those 500 ventilators and send them back east." He said the state was "working day and night to find new ventilators" but if California could it would share medical equipment. "Absolutely, unequivocally we will do that," he said, according to AP. California is lending the ventilators even as it prepares for an expected surge in coronavirus cases as the confirmed COVID-19 case count hits 15,824 in the state, with 372 deaths. Oregon and Washington have already committed to sending ventilators to other states. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said 140 ventilators would be sent, while Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said 400 ventilators would be returned to the national stockpile, from an original loan of 500 ventilators. While the states show a willingness to help each other out, Trump said states have exaggerated the need for ventilators and blamed them for not having enough. At a press briefing on Saturday, Trump said: "[Ventilator] shortages have led to inflated requests. We have some states and areas that are just asking for far more than they need," he said, without specifying which states he meant. Last week, according to The Guardian, he said: "By the way, the states should have been building their stockpiles. Ideally, those states should have had the equipment. We're (the federal government) a back-up not an ordering clerk." In late March, Trump's administration did send 170 ventilators to California, after the state requested 10,000 ventilators. The only problem was that none of them worked. Newsom said at a press conference: "Rather than complaining about it, rather than pointing fingers about it ... We got a car and a truck, we had those 170 taken to a facility." California hospitals now have more than 11,000 ventilators, after buying new ones as well as fixing up old or broken ventilators. The federal government has provided California with about 837,000 N95 masks, 1.31 million gloves, and nearly 2 million surgical masks. Newsom said while California was lending ventilators to states in need, it needed to continue to add more to its own stockpile. SEE ALSO: Trump stopped Fauci from answering a question about the anti-malaria drug Trump is hyping despite it being unproven against the coronavirus DON'T MISS: The Trump administration sent California 170 ventilators to help in coronavirus battle — but none of the equipment worked Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Extremists turned a frog meme into a hate symbol, but Hong Kong protesters revived it as an emblem of hope