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How Trump Wasted the Best Tool He Had to Fight Coronavirus

The U.S. National Strategic Stockpile, a collection of federally-managed critical supplies, such as masks and ventilators, was established during the Clinton administration for a moment much like the COVID-19 pandemic. In an interview for The Washington Monthly, Eric Cortellessa asks Good Harbor CEO, Richard Clarke, about how he helped prepare the country for a crisis that hadn't yet happened by establishing the National Strategic Stockpile.

"For once, the government was out ahead of something," Clarke said.

Since its establishment, the stockpile has been depleted, primarily in efforts to combat emerging epidemics like Ebola and H1-N1 ("Swine Flu"). In the first three years of the Trump administration, no resources were devoted to replenish the NSS. Ninety percent of what remained in it was used by mid-April to fight the COVID-19 outbreak.

"Most senior White House people either ignore warnings, or they do what political scientists call ‘satisficing,’" Clarke told Cortellessa. "They give just enough attention to it so they can say that they did something, in case anything goes wrong."

Read the full interview here.

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