The federal government’s haphazard approach to distributing its limited supplies has left states trying everything — filling out lengthy FEMA applications, calling Trump, contacting Pence, sending messages to Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, and trade adviser Peter Navarro, who are both leading different efforts to find supplies, according to local and states officials in more than half dozen states. They’re even asking mutual friends to call Trump or sending him signals on TV and Twitter.
Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t.
“This is not something that we should ever be faced with,” Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, said in an interview. “It really is the federal government’s responsibility to build those stockpiles, and distribute those during the time of crisis.”
In Illinois, Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker got results after he tweeted at the president and complained on TV. In California, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, a frequent sparring partner for Trump, chose to instead heap praise on the president. And in Kansas, Kelly submitted seven requests for millions of masks, gowns and gloves that went unheeded until a reporter asked Pence about the situation in a briefing. Pence pledged to call her.