Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot rip into Jared Kushner over federal medical supply stockpile comments

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot rip into Jared Kushner over federal medical supply stockpile comments

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot stands by as Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks during a press conference in Hall C Unit 1 of the COVID-19 alternate site at McCormick Place in Chicago on Friday, April 3, 2020. Hall C will house 500 beds.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot ripped into White House senior adviser Jared Kushner on Friday for his comments about a federal stockpile of medical supplies as officials continue to push for additional resources from the federal government.

“The notion of the federal stockpile was it’s supposed to be our stockpile,” Kushner said at a White House press briefing Thursday. “It’s not supposed to be the states’ stockpiles that they then use.”

Kushner’s comments drew widespread backlash, and the Associated Press and other news outlets reported that Donald Trump’s administration changed its description of the Strategic National Stockpile on government websites.

“I don’t know if Jared Kushner knows this, but it’s called the United States of America. And the federal government, which has a stockpile, is supposed to be backstopping the states. He apparently does not know that,” Pritzker said at his daily briefing Friday.

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Both the state and Chicago have supplies stockpiled, and they’re dipping into those supplies. In a recent shipment Illinois received from the federal government were surgical masks, not the N95 masks Pritzker requested. Pritzker also said earlier this week the state needed 4,000 more ventilators.

“I don’t think anybody expected a respiratory pandemic that would deplete all of the respiratory stockpiles that exist … and that the federal government would abdicate its role, and have 50 states, and five territories on top of that, all competing with one another, and competing against the federal government to get the PPE (personal protective equipment) that’s necessary,” Pritzker said.

“So I think Jared Kushner just does not understand this issue. He does not understand what the federal government’s role is supposed to be in a national emergency.”

Lightfoot said Kushner was “casting aspersions on the hard work of governors across this country who have been working tirelessly.”

“We shouldn’t have to beg the federal government to step up and assume its responsibility here. When we hear from the head of the CDC that the federal stockpile, the federal stockpile, only has 10,000 ventilators, the question we should ask is what the heck has the Trump administration been doing over the last three and a half years?” Lightfoot said.

“What that tells me, and I think what that tells public health professionals across the nation, is that the federal government has failed to do the planning that it needs on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to be prepared.”

That Kushner would be “casting aspersions on the hard work of governors across this country who have been working tirelessly, night and day, to be leaders and to care for the residents in their states, that tells you a lot about the character of him,” Lightfoot added.

Last summer, Lightfoot clashed with Kushner’s wife, Ivanka Trump, after the president’s powerful daughter drew attention to the city’s gun violence in a series of tweets and provoked an angry response from Chicago’s mayor.

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