'Nasty': Trump rails against reporter who asked about national stockpile

  • In Business
  • 2020-04-04 02:04:45Z
\'Nasty\': Trump rails against reporter who asked about national stockpile  

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump accused a reporter of asking a "gotcha" question on Friday when asking about White House senior adviser Jared Kushner's comments in which he referred to the national stockpile of medical supplies as "our stockpile" and not one belonging to states.

When asked about data showing states' need for the equipment, Kushner said on Thursday during a rare appearance at a White House press briefing: "The notion of the federal stockpile is that it's supposed to be our stockpile. It's not supposed to be states' stockpiles that they then use."

More: For governors, the coronavirus is a test, from its deadly toll to dealing with Trump

CBS News White House correspondent Weijia Jiang pressed Trump at Friday's briefing to clarify the Kushner's use of the word "ours," as Trump has become defensive over states needing resources from the national stockpile, claiming they should have their own, and the previous administration left them with hardly anything.

"Oh what are you asking me? I mean - what's that? A gotcha?" Trump asked Jiang, interrupting her. "You know what 'ours' means? United States of America. That's what it means."

"So, it means the states?" Jiang asked.

"Our. Our." Trump said, gesturing broadly. "It means the United States of America. And then we take that, our, and distribute it to the states."

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"Then why did he say it's not supposed to be state stockpiles that they then ... " Jiang said, trying to continue.

"Because we need it for the government, and we need it for the federal government," Trump said, as the two talked over each other.

"Who are you giving it to if it's not to the states?" Jiang pressed.

"To keep for our country because the federal government needs it too, not just the states. ... When he (Kushner) says 'our,' he's talking about our country ... he's talking about the federal government," Trump said.

"I mean, it's such a basic, simple question, and you try to make it sound so bad. You ought to be ashamed of yourself," Trump continued, saying Jiang "asked your question in a very nasty tone."

More: The White House will give coronavirus tests to people who get close to Donald Trump

The Strategic National Stockpile website previously said the stockpile was for use when "local supplies to run out" and "when state, local, tribal, and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts," according to an archived version.

It now reads: "The Strategic National Stockpile's role is to supplement state and local supplies during public health emergencies," noting that "many states have products stockpiled, as well."

Jiang posted on Twitter after the exchange, writing, "Jared Kushner is in charge of the medical supply chain that delivers critical items to the doctors and nurses who are on the frontlines everyday. Yesterday he said it was "OURS", so I asked what he meant. Trump did not like the question."

Trump has been elevating a feud with some governors critical of the government's response to the coronavirus pandemic, insisting Thursday that his team is delivering medical supplies to states nationwide and that certain unnamed "complainers" will never be satisfied.

More: Democrats elevate health care as coronavirus-era campaign argument

Fact check: Did the Obama administration deplete the federal stockpile of N95 masks?

In a series of tweets, Trump said some state leaders have "insatiable appetites" for equipment needed to fight the spread of a virus that threatens to kill up to 240,000 Americans this year, "Remember, we are a backup for them."

Reports have emerged of the national stockpile running low.

Trump has demeaned reporters before, especially women of color.

Contributing: Nicholas Wu and David Jackson

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus: Trump rails against reporter who asked about stockpile


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