Trump gets in confrontation with reporter who asks about Jared Kushner

President Donald Trump on Friday exploded at a CBS News reporter who asked him about Jared Kushner’s comment that the national medical stockpile was not meant for the states.

‘It is a gotcha,’ the president told CBS News White House correspondent Weijia Jiang. ‘It means United States of America and then we take that “our” and distribute it to the states.’

She asked him what Kushner meant by the word ‘our’ and said she was not asking a ‘gotcha’ question but trying to clarify policy on the use of the Strategic National Stockpile.

‘When he says our, he is talking about our country,’ Trump said of Kushner, who is a senior adviser in the White House. ‘He is talking about the federal government. It is such a basic, simple question. And you try to make it sound so bad.’

‘It’s not bad. I’m just trying to understand,’ Weijia said.

President Trump exploded at a CBS News reporter who asked him about Jared Kushner’s comment that the national medical stockpile was not meant for states

CBS News White House correspondent Weijia Jiang told the president he did not give her an answer to her question about the policy regarding the Strategic National Stockpile

 President Trump accused Weijia of asking a ‘nasty’ and ‘gotcha’ question

Trump went on to lecture her about her question. 

‘You ought to be ashamed of yourself. You know it, you ought to be ashamed. It’s such a simple question. He said our. That means for the country. Our means for the states because they are part of the country. Don’t make it sound bad,’ the president said.

And he kept on: ‘You just asked your question in a very nasty tone.’

‘It’s not nasty and you didn’t give me an answer,’ Weijia said.

But Trump moved on to call on another reporter.  

‘Let’s go. I gave you a perfect answer, you know it,’ he said. 

Trump said his son-in-law did not make a mistake when describing the purpose of the stockpile. Kushner is leading a ‘shadow’ coronavirus task force that is bringing in the private sector to help the government with its response to the pandemic. He appeared in the briefing room on Thursday to talk about his work when he was asked about sending medical supplies to the states.

‘He used the word our. Our is referring to our country,’ Trump said of Kushner’s words. 

He argued the federal government needs to keep some supplies in order to meet future needs.

‘We have to be able to have the flexibility to take those ventilators and bring them to Louisiana, New York, Detroit, different places. Of course, we are not using them anywhere else. We are not going to use them, anywhere else. But we want the flexibility, because we do not even know when the surge is coming. But it is coming soon, and it is going to be big,’ Trump said.

Amid states bidding against each other for medical supplies and officials begging the federal government for help in procuring much-needed items, Kushner said on Thursday they should not look to the reserve for help.

‘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,’ he said at the daily White House press briefing. 

Governors, officials, health care professionals and workers on the front line of the pandemic have begged for more medical equipment and productive gear as they combat the coronavirus. 

President Trump blamed the states.

‘We have a federal stockpile and they have state stockpiles, many of the states were unprepared for this. So we had to go into the federal stockpile,’ he said on Friday.

‘We are not an ordering clerk,’ the president added. ‘They have to have for themselves. Some of the states were in good shape. Some of the states were not in good shape. That is probably something you could expect. We have been helping states.’

He defended his administration’s work in the states.  

‘We have been spending a tremendous amount of time, effort, and billions and billions of dollars when making sure that they have what they have. Take New York. We built them hospitals, I built them four hospitals. Built a medical centers and sent a ship with 1,000 rooms, and 12 operating rooms, and then on top of that gave the vast numbers of ventilators and vast numbers of surgical gowns, equipment, masks,’ he said.

The description of the Strategic National Stockpile was changed on Friday to align with the way White House senior adviser Jared Kushner described it

The language from earlier this week describing the Strategic National Stockpile

 The new language describing the Strategic National Stockpile

On Friday, the description of the Strategic National Stockpile was changed to align with the way Kushner described it. 

The description on the website for the Strategic National Stockpile actually said state and local governments could count on it for help.

‘Strategic National Stockpile is 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 read, ‘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, on Friday, there was a new description of the stockpile, one that reflected Kushner’s description.

‘The Strategic National Stockpile’s role is to supplement state and local supplies during public health emergencies,’ it now says. ‘Many states have products stockpiled, as well. The supplies, medicines, and devices for life-saving care contained in the stockpile can be used as a short-term stopgap buffer when the immediate supply of adequate amounts of these materials may not be immediately available.’ 

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services told DailyMail.com the language change had been in the works for ‘a week’ to ‘more clearly explain to state and local agencies and members of the public the role of the’ the stockpile.

‘This is language we have been using in responding to inquiries for weeks now. ASPR [The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response] first began working to update the website text a week ago to more clearly explain to state and local agencies and members of the public the role of the SNS,’ the spokesperson said. 

The stockpile is a repository of antibiotics, vaccines, chemical antidotes, 인기카지노 antitoxins, and other critical medical supplies.

It was formed in 1998 when then-President Bill Clinton read a fiction book about mad scientists spreading a virus throughout New York City. He inquired of his staff about medical supplies on reserve. While there was a stockpile for the military, there was not one for civilians, so his administration created one. 

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President Donald Trump and his administration has been pushing blame for the lack of medical supplies to respond to the coronavirus to the states. The White House has sought to portray itself as the rescuer of states’ incompetence

Kushner pushed that idea on Thursday. 

He lectured governors – many of whom have been begging the federal government for medical equipment as they struggle to respond to the pandemic amid dwindling supplies – on how to be ‘good managers.’

‘You have to take inventory in your state, and you have to be able to prove that there’s a real need,’ he said of the requests for they were getting for ventilators, marks and other protective gear for workers on the front line, who are at high risk of contracting the contagious disease. 

He said that governors should know ‘the number of how many ventilators they have in their state because that’s the first thing a good manager will do.’

‘What a lot of the voters are seeing now is that when you would like somebody to be a mayor or governor or president, you’re trying to think about who will be a competent manager during the time of crisis. This is a time of crisis, and you’re seeing certain people are better managers than others,’ he added.  

Kushner’s extraordinary behind-the-scenes role as a key figure in the administration’s coronavirus task force is drawing bewilderment from some officials who see a non-health expert exercising authority.

The president’s son-in-law has brought in former associates and friends as he tries to short-circuit procedures to get medical supplies to states and localities.  

And he has taken a role in one of the central questions of life-saving medical equipment: who should get priority access to precious ventilators. 

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner lectured governors pushing for medical equipment during a White House briefing room appearance. An unnamed official described his team as a ‘frat party’ descended from a UFO

An official compared Kushner’s team to a ‘frat party.’ Its members include Brad Smith, a fellow Harvard grad, and Jared’s former college roommate Adam Noehner

A senior administration official involved in meetings about the coronavirus outbreak told the New York Times Kushner’s team was like a ‘frat party’ that ‘descended from a U.F.O. and invaded the federal government.’

But Kushner has defended his work, saying he can make things happen quickly from his West Wing office just down the hall from the Oval Office.  

From the White House, ‘you can move a lot faster,’ he said. “I’ve put members of my team into a lot of components. What we’ve been able to do is get people very quick answers.” 

The figures Kushner has involved in order to expedite requests for equipment include friends and associates from his time as a senior White House aide and as a player in New York real estate. 

They include Kushner’s former roommate Adam Boehler, the head of an international finance agency, and Brad Smith, who leads an innovation center at the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services. 

According to his CMS bio, Harvard grad Smith ‘was the Co-Founder and CEO of Aspire Health, which he grew from an idea into the nation’s largest home-based palliative care provider operating in 25 states and over 70 cities.’ 

The paper also identified software entrepreneur Nat Turner as part of Kushner’s improvised team. 

The Kushner effort comes as governors around the country have been publicly and privately begging for medical equipment as some hospitals begin to be overrun with patients. 

He has stepped in as the coronavirus outbreak hits close to home, with New York and New Jersey seeing a spike in cases, even as his father in law has offered conflicting information about whether the situation is contained or dire, sunny pronouncements about having enough equipment available, and threats to use government powers to force manufacturers to make more of it. 

White House adviser Jared Kushner attends a teleconference with governors at the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters From left, President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx and Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health and Kushner on March 19, 2020 in Washington, DC

Kushner has taken leading roles in numerous areas, including a Mideast peace proposal

Democratic Congresswoman Kathleen Rice of New York, a former federal prosecutor, called on White House senior adviser Jared Kushner to ‘resign or be fired immediately,’ arguing his inexperience poses ‘a direct threat to American lives’

Kushner gave a window into the type of assignments he is carrying out at the White House Thursday.

‘Got a call from the president, he told me he was hearing from friends of his in New York that the New York public hospital system was running low on critical supplies,’ Kushner told reporters while the president looked on.

He said he made a series of calls to officials and said the result was the administration would ‘send a month of supply.’

‘We’ll be doing similar things with all the different public hospitals that are in the hot spot zones,’ he said.  

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Benny Thompson – who is calling for a special commission to probe the coronavirus response – publicly criticized Kushner’s role.

‘FEMA was brought into the response to provide logistics support and the White House should let them do their work. There is no reason for Jared or any other inexperienced person to be getting in the way of that,’ he told The Times.  

And Democratic Congresswoman Kathleen Rice of New York, a former federal prosecutor, called on Kushner to ‘resign or be fired immediately,’ arguing his inexperience poses ‘a direct threat to American lives.’ 

Kushner has been running a ‘shadow’ coronavirus task force, which has brought in private sector officials to augment the government response.  

‘Since day 1 we’ve known that Jared Kushner was nothing more than a product of nepotism. Entirely inexperienced, unqualified and ill-informed for the position he held. But during this crisis, he poses a direct threat to American lives. He needs to resign or be fired immediately,’ she wrote on Twitter. 

Meanwhile the blame game from the administration has played out as the backdrop of the pandemic, which has seen more than 245,000 Americans infected and more than 6,000 dead from the disease.

President Trump also has pushed the blame to the states and engaged in a verbal war of words with various governors. 

President Donald Trump has engaged in a verbal war of words with various governors

President Trump and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo exchanged barbs last week on the number of ventilators sent to help the state

He and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo exchanged barbs last week on the number of ventilators sent help the state – which has the highest infection rate in the nation – combat the coronavirus. They later made amends. 

Additionally last week, he attacked the governors of Washington and Michigan for not being appreciative enough to him during the coronavirus crisis.

‘I think they should be appreciative,’ he said during his daily White House briefing. ‘When they’re not appreciative to me. They are not appreciative to the army corps. They are not appreciative to FEMA. It’s not right.’

He added that: ‘If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call.’

Both Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has complained they’re not getting enough supplies and support from the federal government as their states battle the coronavirus.   

Whitmore refused to engage the president on the matter, saying officials should be fighting the coronavirus, not each other.

‘Right now, we all need to be focused on fighting the virus, not each other. I’m willing to work with anyone as long as we get the personal protective equipment we need for the people of Michigan,’ she tweeted after the president’s remarks. 

In an interview with CNN earlier this month, Whitmore said her state’s shipments of personal protective equipment are being ‘canceled’ or ‘delayed.’

‘Well, we’ve entered into a number of contracts, and as we get closer to the date when shipments are supposed to come in, they are getting canceled — getting delayed,’ Whitmer told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

She said Michigan was notified that shipments of protective equipment such as face masks are going ‘first to the federal government’ ahead of the states.

Whitmer endorsed Joe Biden for president earlier this month and has made the short list of those he is considering running with should he earn the Democratic nomination.

Washington state Governor Jay Inslee was criticized by President Trump after he complained about a lack of medical supplies

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer was referred to by Trump as ‘the woman in Michigan’

But the president defended the work of his coronavirus task force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, as working ’24 hours a day’ to help ease the pandemic.  

‘Mike Pence, I don’t think he sleeps anymore. These are people that should be appreciated,’ the president complained last week.

He admitted his vice president will call the governors even when he won’t.  

‘He calls all the governors. I tell him, I mean, I’m a different type of person. I say Mike, don’t call the governor of Washington. You are wasting your time with him. Don’t call the woman in Michigan, it doesn’t make any difference what happens,’ he said. 

He trashed Inslee as a ‘failed presidential candidate’ and Whitmer as not having any ‘idea what’s going on.’

Inslee ran for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination to bring attention to global warming but his campaign failed to gain traction. 

‘I think we have done a great job in the state of Washington. I think the governor is a failed presidential candidate as you know. He leveled out at zero in the polls. He is constantly tripping and I guess complaining would be a nice way of saying it. We are building hospitals. We have done a great job for the state of Washington,’ Trump said. 

And he went on to complain of Whitmer that ‘she has no idea what’s going on and all she does is say oh, it’s the federal government’s fault. And we have taken such great care of Michigan.’

 

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