Trump Was Right Again: NYC Forced to Scrap Equipment Former POTUS Told Them They Wouldn't Need


It may have been nearly three years ago now, but I remember the days when midday cable news programming was dominated by the media briefings by two elected officials.

First, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo would take to the air to offer up his views on the COVID pandemic. He was the good guy. He was the one who said New York State needed more ventilators, more hospital beds, more money, more more more. It was even more dire than our worst nightmares, he said during his overlong harangues.

And he was the good guy. The bad guy, of course, was then-President Donald Trump. Not that he didn’t treat COVID as it was an emergency or promise a whole rash of spending, but he would sometimes question the gargantuan spending requests of some governors — particularly Cuomo.

Take this Politico headline from March 26, 2020: “Trump downplays need for ventilators as New York begs to differ.”

“Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York says his state needs tens of thousands of ventilators to respond to the escalating coronavirus pandemic,” the article began.

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“President Donald Trump doesn’t believe him.”

“I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they’re going to be,” Trump said during an appearance on Fox News,

“I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You go into major hospitals sometimes, and they’ll have two ventilators. And now, all of a sudden, they’re saying, ‘Can we order 30,000 ventilators?’”

The “good guy” thusly accused Trump of “missing the magnitude of the problem.”

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“What am I going to do with 400 ventilators when I need 30,000?” Cuomo said during one of his daily media briefings.

“You pick the 26,000 people who are going to die because you only sent 400 ventilators,” he added.

Well, guess what? The supposed bad guy was very right — and the massive outlay New York made to acquire ventilators and other COVID gear has turned the “necessary” equipment into expensive unused scrap metal, essentially.

According to a Tuesday report nonprofit NYC digital outlet The City, Gotham has auctioned off more than $200 million of COVID gear, much of it apparently unused, for $500,000.

This included $12 million in ventilators acquired at the behest of then-New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio — that sold for for $24,600.

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Meanwhile, unused bridge vents were sold as “non-functioning medical equipment sold as scrap metal.”

The prices were obtained by requesting information from private auction houses, The City reported; New York City government refuses to discuss the sales.

And what wasn’t auctioned off at a huge loss was just given away, with surplus COVID gear sent to Ghana, Haiti, Indonesia, South Africa and Ukraine.

“Much of this big sell-off is occurring because de Blasio waived the usual good government oversight of city contracts at the start of the pandemic. Former city Comptroller Scott Stringer, whose job was to make sure that the city gets what it’s paying for, was sidelined,” The City reported.

“Earlier this month, his successor, Comptroller Brad Lander, issued a report noting that despite the pandemic, city agencies still had the responsibility to vet the credibility of vendors to see if they would deliver what they promised and if the prices offered were reasonable,” the report continued.

“Lander found that both of those efforts were spotty at best, and the City of New York wound up paying upfront for millions of dollars’ worth of defective goods or supplies that were never delivered.”

In one case, according to The City, a company was given a $9.1 million contract for ventilators it never delivered. Instead, the company provided the city with N95 masks.

However, the first batch of masks was of “poor quality or not FDA-certified,” The City reported. They were also more expensive than the price of the average N95 mask, costing $4 when the average price was $3.10.

It’s also worth noting the company that pulled this stunt, Digital Gadgets, is owned by a Democrat donor who has given “major” money to both de Blasio and current New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, according to The City.

But these acquisitions — especially the ventilators — were de Blasio’s pride and joy, at least at the time.

“This is a story about doing the impossible,” de Blasio boasted in April of 2020. “We’d never made a ventilator before — and so we made thousands. We learned it would take a year — and so we did it in a month.”

Not that this was the only waste in New York during the early days of the pandemic. You may remember that the federal government sent the ship USNS Comfort to dock in New York City to serve as a 1,000-bed floating hospital, with another federal facility set up at the enormous Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan with 2,500 beds.

According to a Saturday report from the New York Post, a top Navy admiral sent a series of emails begging top Cuomo aide Melissa de Rosa to send patients to the facilities, noting there were only 37 patients on board the Comfort and another 83 at the Javits Center.

Instead, as the Post reported, de Rosa and the Cuomo administration went into political spin mode.

Of course, neither Cuomo nor de Blasio was ousted from office for their incompetence. De Blasio was term-limited and left office in January, while Cuomo resigned for, ahem, other reasons.

(It’s worth noting, however, that while Cuomo’s resignation was spurred by a series of sexual misconduct charges, his mismanagement of COVID — particularly his edict to send infected individuals back into nursing homes — had also permanently besmirched his image by the time he was forced from office.)

While New York was the original epicenter of the COVID outbreak in the United States, its estimates of what it needed to fight the pandemic were wildly over the top.

Now, over $200 million in pandemic-related goods can’t even fetch half of $1 million on the auction market.

The “good guy” chosen by the establishment media (complete with a special Emmy!) was wrong.

The establishment media’s “bad guy” — Donald Trump — was right.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture