“The American people got ripped off, and Donald Trump and his team got taken to the cleaners,” said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, Democrat of Illinois and the chairman of the panel’s economic and consumer policy subcommittee. “The Trump administration’s mishandling of ventilator procurement for the nation’s stockpile cost the American people dearly during the worst public health crisis of our generation.”
The report faulted Peter Navarro, Mr. Trump’s top trade adviser, and Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and senior adviser, for negotiating a deal to acquire ventilators quickly in which the panel said they paid almost five times the price per device than under a previous contract with the same vendor.
“The Trump negotiators appeared gullible and conceded to Philips on all significant matters, including price,” the report said, referring to Philips North America Corporation, which had a federal contract to supply ventilators to the national stockpile. “The documents show that the administration accepted Philips’ first offer without even trying to negotiate a lower price.”
The committee launched an investigation in April to determine why the country was without much-needed ventilators during the initial months of the coronavirus pandemic.
In January, Philips approached the Trump administration about speeding up the long-delayed delivery of ventilators it had agreed to supply, but the administration failed to respond to for six weeks, the panel found. When it did, the report said, rather than insist on the delivery of the devices by the deadlines in its original contract, officials led by Mr. Navarro and Mr. Kushner negotiated a new deal at an inflated rate.
Reporting was contributed by Liz Alderman, Luke Broadwater, Julia Calderone, Emily Cochrane, Kate Conger, Michael Cooper, Michael Crowley, Robert Gebeloff, Michael Levenson, Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio, Eshe Nelson, Richard A. Oppel Jr., Richard C. Paddock, Elian Peltier, Matt Phillips, Austin Ramzy, Motoko Rich, Eliza Shapiro, Megan Specia, Eileen Sullivan, Katie Thomas, Neil Vigdor, Mihir Zaveri.