Trump Administration Edits National Stockpile Website to Make Jared Kushner’s Comments Seem Less Bad

Trump Administration Edits National Stockpile Website to Make Jared Kushner’s Comments Seem Less Bad

The website of the Strategic National Stockpile was edited Friday to make it more in line with a claim by senior White House official Jared Kushner about its use by states.

Kushner said at Thursday’s coronavirus press briefing 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.”

Several journalists noted that Kushner’s comment was incorrect, according to the federal stockpile’s own website.

As of Friday morning, the website read:

“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. 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. Organized for scalable response to a variety of public health threats, this repository contains enough supplies to respond to multiple large-scale emergencies simultaneously.”

In its place now reads:

“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.”

Jeremy Konyndyk, director of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance under former President Barack Obama, told CNN that Kushner’s comment on Thursday “shows a total misunderstanding of the purpose of the SNS, but more broadly shows a misunderstanding of how federal disaster response operates.” The administration’s website edit, he added, was “absolutely Orwellian.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response said they “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.”

William Vaillancourt

William Vaillancourt

William Vaillancourt is a writer and editor from New Hampshire whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Progressive, Slate and Areo Magazine, among other places. He holds a BA in Political Science and History from Boston University.