Former President Donald Trump’s administration sent roughly 8,700 ventilators abroad at the start of the coronavirus pandemic without any processes in place to ensure the machines arrived at the correct destinations, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The White House conducted the $200-million effort in a haphazard fashion, the GAO found, and though it was in partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development, the executive branch paid little attention to the experts there. David Gootnick, director of international affairs and trade at GAO, wrote, “These ventilators were not in State or AID’s strategic plan. They could not articulate for us the criteria they used for what ventilators went to what countries.” The White House declined to answer the watchdog’s questions about why the ventilator donations did not seem to match reality and why countries with few new coronavirus cases received hundreds of the vital machines while some with many cases did not.
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