A Congressional source told CNN on Wednesday that they had been informed late Friday evening that the coronavirus task force – chaired by Vice President Mike Pence – was stopping overseas shipments of medical supplies and requesting rather than supplies being distributed in the United States. .
Asked about the freeze on Wednesday, President Donald Trump said there was “no truth” to them. However, a few minutes later, he noted that “everything we have, everything we are committed to, we are committed to”, but added that “we also need a lot for ourselves”.
“Obviously, we’re not going to ship too much,” he said during a briefing at the White House.
Politico was the first to report the freeze. CNN has contacted the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development for comment.
The move comes as the United States turned to countries around the world with requests to donate or sell supplies ranging from hand sanitizer to ventilators to help fight the deadly pandemic. In a list obtained by CNN, the State Department presented 25 articles that diplomats should request from their host country. South Korea said last week that Trump had made a personal appeal for supplies to President Moon Jae-in. On Wednesday, a Russian cargo plane with medical supplies landed in New York, just days after Trump and President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone.
Despite the decision to freeze overseas medical supplies, the State Department and USAID publicly praised America’s generosity amid the global pandemic.
“In early February – it seems like a long time ago – in early February, we transported nearly 18 tonnes of medical supplies to Wuhan from Samaritan’s Purse, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and from others ”. State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday, an apparent response to criticism of the aid expedition.
“In America, we provide aid because we are a generous and noble people,” he said.
Last week, the State Department announced $ 274 million in health and humanitarian assistance in response to the pandemic. However, a senior State Department official admitted last week that they were not providing personal protective equipment as part of this assistance.