Trump administration tells states to step up as governors plead for aid

The government’s website for the stockpile, which previously said it was “for use in a public health emergency severe enough to cause local supplies to run out,” was altered to align with Kushner’s remarks. It now says the stockpile’s role “is to supplement state and local supplies during public health emergencies. Many states have products stockpiled, as well.”

Leaving states on their own, however, has had serious consequences. Many governors say they’ve been forced to bid against one another, the federal government and other countries for supplies on the open market and pay exorbitant rates for basic protective gear.

“It literally is a global jungle that we’re competing in now,” Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, said on “Meet the Press.” “I’d like to see a better way, but that’s the reality in which we are.”

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker blasted Trump in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” telling host Jake Tapper that Trump “does not understand the word ‘federal.’”

“If he were right, why would we ever need a Federal Emergency Management Agency? It’s because individual states can’t possibly do what the federal government can do,” the Democratic governor said. “We don’t have a Defense Production Act. There’s no way that we could stockpile in anticipation of a pandemic that no one anticipated. And yet the federal government is responsible for doing precisely that.”

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer similarly expressed frustration that the U.S. has no national strategy. The current “patchwork based on whomever the governor is,” Whitmer said, is “creating a more porous situation where Covid-19 will go longer and more people will get sick and sadly more lives may get lost.

“That’s precisely why think we all have to do our jobs. We are not one another’s enemies,” Whitmer, a Democrat, told host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” “The enemy is Covid-19, and it has to be all hands on deck from the federal level to the state level to the local level. And that’s precisely what we’re trying to do because Covid-19, as I said, doesn’t discriminate on party line or state line, and that’s why we have to have a national strategy, and we all have to be working on the same team.”