The Associated Press accused the Trump administration of having “wasted” months in the fight against coronavirus on Sunday morning, claiming that federal contracts for needed medical supplies were only made in mid-March.
The term “wasted” appears in a quote from former Obama administration Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, who resigned several months after the Obamacare website crashed upon launch in 2013.
The AP reports:
As the first alarms sounded in early January that an outbreak of a novel coronavirus in China might ignite a global pandemic, the Trump administration squandered nearly two months that could have been used to bolster the federal stockpile of critically needed medical supplies and equipment.
A review of federal purchasing contracts by The Associated Press shows federal agencies waited until mid-March to begin placing bulk orders of N95 respirator masks, mechanical ventilators and other equipment needed by front-line health care workers.
“We basically wasted two months,” Kathleen Sebelius, health and human services secretary during the Obama administration, told AP.
The Trump administration has said that procuring medical supplies was primarily a state responsibility, and that the federal stockpile was meant to serve as an emergency backup, not as a primary source of supplies.
The Los Angeles Times reported last month that California had built up a large stockpile of thousands of ventilators, 50 million respirator masks, and several mobile hospital units under Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenneger. However, his Democratic successors cut the funding necessary to maintain the stockpiles, and never restored them.
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). He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.