Russel L. Honoré, a retired lieutenant general who might be best known for serving as commander of Joint Task Force Katrina responsible for coordinating military relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina, ripped into White House adviser Jared Kushner’s suggestion on Thursday that the Strategic National Stockpile wasn’t even meant for states.
“Let me ask you this, can you make sense of this statement from Jared Kushner yesterday, because it certainly left me scratching my head,” MSNBC’s Kat Tur asked Gen. Honoré before playing a clip of Kushner’s remarks.
“The notion of the federal stockpile was it’s supposed to be our stockpile,” Kushner told reporters on Thursday after he was asked about the federal government’s response to states that have requested shipments from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). “It’s not supposed to be state stockpiles that they then 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. 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,” Kushner said.
“Can you make sense of that,” Tur asked.
“He has no idea what the hell he’s talking about. He almost remembered a slide he saw,” he said.
“It is FEMA’s responsibility to – along with those agencies that’s collaborating with them inside that giant FEMA logistics coordinating agency – to send this to one of six FEMA warehouses or if they decided to send it directly to a state. But he has no idea what the hell he is talking about. And he may be confusing the situation more than he’s adding to the clarity of the situation.”
Perfect. More of this please.
Lt. General Russel Honore says Jared Kushner “has no idea what the hell he’s talking about.”
We agree! pic.twitter.com/t3y8Sf6TDc
— Jason Overstreet (@JasonOverstreet) April 3, 2020
The Trump administration quietly changed an online description of the country’s Strategic National Stockpile following Kushner’s press briefing.
Previously, according to the federal public health emergency website, the Strategic National Stockpile was described as “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.”
The description continued: “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.”
That definition disappeared from the site on Friday.
The new, one-paragraph description says the stockpile is meant as a “short-term stopgap.”
“The Strategic National Stockpile’s role is to supplement state and local supplies during public health emergencies. 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,” the website now says.