At Tuesday's briefing, President Trump tried to shift blame for his administration’s delayed response to the coronavirus pandemic on his predecessor, claiming once again that he inherited “very empty cupboards.”
Facts First: The Strategic National Stockpile was not empty before the coronavirus pandemic. For example, the stockpile contains enough smallpox vaccines for every American, among other medical resources. And while the stockpile of some critical supplies that could be used to combat coronavirus was drained and not replenished, Trump had three years in office to build those depleted stockpiles back up.
Trump has also previously claimed the US didn’t have any ventilators when he took office or when the coronavirus pandemic hit. However, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed to CNN in late June that there had been about 19,000 ventilators in the national stockpile for “many years,” including 16,660 ventilators that were ready for immediate use in March 2020; the spokesperson confirmed that none of those 16,660 were purchased by the Trump administration.
Ultimately, Trump ignored the warnings of experts and failed to restock masks and prepare other supplies to fight a potential pandemic.
You can read a longer fact check on Trump’s claims about inheriting an empty cupboard of supplies here.