It’s not often that the Media(D) says that President Trump is right about something.
Actually, off the top of my head, I can’t think of another time.
Yet, USA Today did just that on Friday. In an article fact-checking the statement that President Trump made on Wednesday when asked by CNN’s Jim Acosta why there is a shortage of medical equipment. President Trump said that “the shelves were empty” when he took over from the previous administration.
Watch the exchange:
Jim Acosta: Why is it we don't have enough masks?
Trump: You know it. You know the answer. The previous administration…the shelves were empty. pic.twitter.com/PUHd2jHFym
— The Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) April 3, 2020
Despite repeated warnings that the stockpile of medical equipment including N95 masks had been depleted during the H1N1 crisis, it wasn’t replenished by the Obama administration.
Bloomberg News reported that the 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak used up 75% of its stockpile and caused a nationwide shortage of masks including a two- to three-year backlog in orders of the N95 respirator masks.
The Strategic National Stockpile of medical equipment was established in 1999 to prepare the country for emergencies like a pandemic, natural disasters, or a bioweapon attack. It was in 2006 that Congress approved an expansion of the stockpile to include protective gear like the N95 masks.
Since it was established, it has been used 13 times. During the George W. Bush administration, it was used after the 9/11 attack, the 2001 anthrax attacks, as well as for natural disaster response like hurricanes Katrina and Rita (2005) and hurricanes Gustav and Ike (2008).
During the presidency of Barack Obama, the national stockpile was seriously taxed as the administration addressed multiple crises over eight years. About “75 percent of N95 respirators and 25 percent of face masks contained in the CDC’s Strategic National Stockpile (∼100 million products) were deployed for use in health care settings over the course of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic response,” according to a 2017 study in the journal Health Security.
Again according to NIH, the stockpile’s resources were also used during hurricanes Alex, Irene, Isaac and Sandy. Flooding in 2010 in North Dakota also called for stockpile funds to be deployed. The 2014 outbreaks of the ebola virus and botulism, as well as the 2016 outbreak of the zika virus, continued to significantly tax the stockpile with no serious effort from the Obama administration to replenish the fund.
ProPublica reported on April 3 that congressional budget battles in the early years of the Obama administration contributed to stockpile shortages. But the article notes available funds were used not to replenish masks: “With limited resources, officials in charge of the stockpile tend to focus on buying lifesaving drugs from small biotechnology firms that would, in the absence of a government buyer, have no other market for their products, experts said. Masks and other protective equipment are in normal times widely available and thus may not have been prioritized for purchase, they said.”
Source: USA Today
Despite this, the Media(D) lets the Obama admin skate on the tough questions.
Here is CNN’s Anderson Cooper asking Democratic front-runner, Joe Biden, about the depletion of the mask supply and allowing him to avoid the hard question.
Biden Dodges A Question About The Obama-Biden 2009 Admin's Failure To Replenish N95 Mask Stockpile
Trump War Room pic.twitter.com/Fsx9S1UT29
— Den Lewis ⭐⭐⭐ #VoteDemOut (@Denlewis01) March 28, 2020
USA Today used several sources and fact-checked the President’s claim. They found that he was correct.
Here’s their verdict:
We rate this claim TRUE because it is supported by our research. There is no indication that the Obama administration took significant steps to replenish the supply of N95 masks in the Strategic National Stockpile after it was depleted from repeated crises. Calls for action came from experts at the time concerned for the country’s ability to respond to future serious pandemics. Such recommendations were, for whatever reason, not heeded.
Source: USA Today
Mark the date on your calendar, folks. This kind of thing is a once-in-a-Blue-Moon kind of thing.