How Kushner’ Volunteer Force Led a Fumbling Hunt for Medical Supplies

In Healthcare, States On
- Updated

This spring, as the United States faced a critical shortage of masks, gloves and other protective equipment to battle the coronavirus pandemic, a South Carolina physician reached out to the Federal Emergency Management Agency with an offer of help.

Dr. Jeffrey Hendricks had longtime manufacturing contacts in China and a line on millions of masks from established suppliers.Instead of encountering seasoned FEMA procurement officials, his information was diverted to a team ofroughly a dozen youngvolunteers, recruited by the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and overseen by a former assistant to Mr. Kushner’s wife, Ivanka Trump.

The volunteers, foot soldiers in the Trump administration’s new supply-chain task force, had little to no experience with government procurement procedures or medical equipment. But as part of Mr. Kushner’s governmentwide push to secure protective gear for the nation’s doctors and nurses, the volunteers were put in charge of sifting through more than a thousand incoming leads, and told to pass only the best ones on for further review by FEMA officials.

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