Contrary to President Donald Trump’s repeated claims that he inherited a Strategic National Stockpile with “empty” or “bare” cupboards, the federal government had more ventilators in stock than it ended up distributing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, FactCheck.org has learned.
The SNS had 16,660 ventilators “immediately available for use” when the federal government began deploying the breathing machines to states to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients in March, according to a Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson.
None of those ventilators was bought by the Trump administration, the spokesperson told us. In a separate email to us on June 17, another HHS spokesperson said the federal government has distributed 10,640 ventilators during the pandemic.
You know how Trump keeps saying he was left 0 ventilators? @factcheckdotorg got the first official numbers: there were 16,660 ventilators in the stockpile as of March, all left from previous administrations — more than Trump has needed to deploy. https://t.co/FYECs1JdcK
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) June 23, 2020