By Jane C. Timm


President Donald Trump has repeatedly complained that he inherited an empty national stockpile from the Obama administration, hamstringing his pandemic response because of a lack of emergency supplies.

"The cupboard was bare. The other administration, the last administration, left us nothing," Trump told ABC News' David Muir on Tuesday. "We didn't have ventilators. We didn't have medical equipment. The tests were broken — you saw that. We had broken tests. They left us nothing. We've taken it and we've built an incredible stockpile, a stockpile like we've never had before."


It's a sweeping claim Trump has made several times when faced with criticism that the government was slow to help states hit hard by the coronavirus and in dire need to supplies like personal protective equipment for front line workers and ventilators for an influx of patients — and one that former Obama administration and past news reports dispute.


"It's not accurate to say the shelves were empty," said Dr. Nicole Lurie, who was assistant secretary of health and human services for preparedness and response under Obama.