A major source from a New York Times article criticizing Jared Kushner’s handling of resource procurement amid coronavirus released a statement clarifying his comments Thursday.
Dr. Jeffrey Hendricks was quoted in the story bemoaning the inefficiency of a volunteer force set up by Kushner to facilitate the procurement of medical resources, such as masks, by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The group’s purpose was to sift through hundreds of individuals who said they had access to stores of PPE, sending FEMA only the strongest prospects. The NYT article tells a story of an inexperienced volunteer force instructed to prioritize individuals with private connections to the Trump administration over other leads. Henricks now says he would like to clarify his contribution to the story.
“There were some pieces that were true and some things that did not fully reflect my experience,” Hendricks said of the article in a statement provided by the White House. “My experience with the volunteers was that they were kind, responsive, and tried to assist. I believe everybody is trying to manage the best way possible and with good intentions. There will be efforts that work, and efforts that are well intended, but do not. We can assess this going forward and make new recommendations accordingly. I believe that this administration is putting forth incredible efforts to assist our health care providers and our citizens.”
Hendricks believes he can help FEMA access millions of masks currently being stored in China, just the sort of project Kushner’s volunteer force was set up to facilitate. But Hendricks said the process of working with the volunteers was cumbersome, with some of his communiques going unanswered even as less promising stockpiles were pursued. (RELATED: Republican Senators Want To Rename Chinese Embassy Street After Chinese COVID-19 Whistleblower)
Hendricks provided photo evidence that the mask stockpile existed, and is now waiting for U.S. authorities to conduct a site inspection of the stockpile in China.
“I expressed my frustration with slow communication that seemed to have stopped altogether, but also acknowledged the vetting process could take some time,” he said according to the statement. “Despite what at times felt like a bureaucratic process I finally received authorization for a site inspection on April 29th 2020, although this has not taken place as of yet.” (RELATED: One Of Trump’s Personal Valets Reportedly Tests Positive For Coronavirus)
The volunteer force ended operations in early April.