After Kushner says ‘it’s our stockpile,’ HHS website changed to echo his comments on federal crisis role

It was a telling moment in the rising tensions between the Trump White House and state governors desperate for medical equipment to deal with the exploding coronavirus crisis.

At Thursday’s briefing on how the government is responding, Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner scolded states for not building up their own stockpiles, saying that the “the notion of the federal stockpile was it’s supposed to be our stockpile, it’s not supposed to be states’ stockpiles that they then use.”

But the national stockpile actually is intended for states’ use, which was clearly explained on the government’s own website — until the language was changed, without explanation, hours after Kushner provided his inaccurate description.

Until Friday morning, the website of the Department of Health and Human Services, which maintains the stockpile, read, “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.”

But midday Friday, hours after Kushner directly contradicted the language on the HHS website, the text was changed without explanation. Retroactively matching what Kushner said, the website no longer says states can rely on the stockpile, but now says it exists to “supplement” them.