GOP Sen. Gardner wants probe into ‘mismanagement’ of national stockpile
Gardner said his letter is not a response to that comment, which he learned of late Thursday, but he pointedly questioned Kushner’s statement in the interview.
“I don’t know what Kushner was talking about, what he meant. But the stockpile is for the country. And the country is made up of states in the federal government,” Gardner said.
Gardner said the country has “got to do more” to distribute ventilators to the afflicted, emphasizing his state has asked for 10,000 ventilators. He said he’s been speaking frequently with Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci to try and deliver more aid to his state. He also worked to get masks shipped to the United States, including Colorado, from Taiwan and is trying to get supplies from South Korea and Vietnam.
In the letter to Principal Deputy Inspector General Christi Grimm, Gardner asked if there was a gap in contract in the national stockpile to maintain ventilators and if there has been “mismanagement that led to a shortage of working ventilators.” He was referring to what he calls “unacceptable” reports that the SNS has been caught flatfooted in providing working ventilators to states.
But despite his requests for a probe, Gardner, who faces a tough battle for reelection, made clear there is no upside for his state in being critical of Trump while in the middle of a pandemic.
There’s no time for “backbiting” within the government, Gardner said, and he praised the administration for cutting off flights to China early and said Fauci offered reassurances to him over the national stockpile on Thursday.
“I’m not going to look back and point fingers. I’m going to find out what happened, I want to find out what went wrong, and I want to fix it,” Gardner said. “I’m going to spend my time working to get more ventilators, working to get more masks and working to get more protective equipment.”