House Democrats wrote to President Donald Trump on Friday, questioning his decision to send 200 ventilators to Russia to help coronavirus patients there.
In a letter signed by three committee chairs (Oversight, Foreign Affairs, and Appropriations) and two subcommittee chairs (Coronavirus and National Security), Democrats objected to the donation, claiming that the president was “providing or selling ventilators to other countries as gifts or favors to serve your own political or personal interests without any meaningful strategic justification, thorough interagency process, or policy rationale for doing so.”
While they claimed that they are not averse to being “part of the global solution to the coronavirus pandemic,” the Democrats added that “we must first ensure that cities and hospitals across the United States can address their own ventilator shortages.”
The White House has repeatedly noted that every American who has needed a ventilator during the coronavirus pandemic has had one thanks to the administration’s guidance of private sector production. The president has begun calling the U.S. the “king” of ventilators.
“With your help,” President Trump told employees at a Ford Motor Company plant in Michigan on Thursday, “not a single American who has needed a ventilator has been denied a ventilator. Not one.”
In their letter, House Democrats wrote: “The use of American taxpayer dollars to purchase and deliver ventilators overseas cannot and should not be used as political favors.” But they provided no evidence that Trump has done so.
Instead, Democrats demanded the White House preserve and provide documents, including “[c]omplete and unredacted flight manifests for U.S. ventilator shipments to foreign governments or entities” and “[f]ull summaries of any and all conversations between yourself and President Putin during which the shipment of ventilators was discussed.”
Trump announced this week that the U.S. was sending 250 ventilators to Nigeria — more than the U.S. is sending to Russia. The administration has said that it will provide 8,000 ventilators to foreign countries by the end of July, since there will be an oversupply in the U.S.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.