White House Halts USAID's Foreign Shipments of Coronavirus Aid, Diverts Supplies to US


The White House coronavirus task force has temporarily stopped the U.S. Agency for International Development’s overseas shipments of personal protective equipment and requested for the aid to be sent to the United States instead, according to a Tuesday report.

Vice President Mike Pence is leading the task force as it investigates foreign shipments of aid and struggles with a shortage of medical equipment back home, Politico reported.

One anonymous person close to USAID said Pence’s ongoing review of the disbursement of supplies has made an impact.

“They’re really trying to walk a fine line between making sure Americans get everything they need and then starting to provide assistance elsewhere, and the vice president’s oversight is slowing down the decision-making process,” the person told Politico.

The coronavirus task force is looking into how to address the shortage of protective gear in the United States compared with other countries’ ability to address the problem themselves.

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“The idea is to figure out what is in short supply and how it compares to what USAID has overseas,” an aid official told Politico.

“Given what’s happening in the United States and the shortage of critical supplies, it would be really difficult to be sending things abroad when we need them here at home.”

The danger of scrutinizing coronavirus-related aid is the possibility of damaging relationships with allies who could be of help later down the road.

“One of the big questions the task force is discussing is how foreign aid could help us when a second wave hits, whether that’s in the fall or later this summer,” another person close to USAID told Politico.

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“Pence realizes you have to wait for the right time to provide assistance, but also that foreign assistance can help us as well.”

Although shipments from USAID have been temporarily stopped, private companies are still shipping supplies to foreign buyers with as many as 280 million masks purchased per day, Forbes reported.

The Trump administration has recently received criticism from Democrats about a shipment of medical supplies sent to China in the early days of the virus outbreak.

In February, the administration announced it was sending 17.8 tons of medical supplies, including masks and respirators, to China to help it fight the virus.

The move has received criticism from Democrats now that the United States is facing a shortage of supplies.

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“Trump, you incompetent idiot!” California Rep. Maxine Waters tweeted Monday.

“You sent 18 tons of PPE to China early but ignored warnings & called COVID19 concerns a hoax. You’ve endangered doctors, nurses, aids, orderlies, & janitors – all risking their lives to save ours.”

Dan Pfeiffer, a senior White House adviser to former President Barack Obama, suggested the shipment of 2 million masks to China before COVID-19 came to America “would be a devastating ad.”

“That was kind of a different era when there was not much of an appreciation of this hitting the United States,” an anonymous Trump administration official told Politico in response.

The Trump administration also said the shipment to China came from private donations instead of the Strategic National Stockpile.

“It’s a good thing that we’re taking a holistic look at where and when we’re sending [personal protective equipment] as we’re looking to fulfill needs at home,” Pence spokeswoman Katie Miller said.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith


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