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Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson pushed back Tuesday against President Trump's claim that the Obama administration left him with a bare Strategic National Stockpile of medical supplies, telling "Your World" that it was "one of the very few things that we talked to the incoming administration about as we were leaving office."
"[The] stockpile was very definitely there when we left office in January 2017," Johnson said. "It should not have been where it could have been [due to] budget cuts by the Congress, but the stockpile was definitely there."
President Trump has repeatedly claimed that his administration inherited an empty national stockpile, most recently telling ABC News' David Muir earlier this month that the "the last administration, left us nothing."
Johnson said that the Obama administration had been focused on the national stockpile after the Ebola outbreak in 2014 and that had in fact discussed the state of the national stockpile with the incoming administration.
"Dealing with a lethal pandemic like this has been and was uppermost on our minds," Johnson asserted, "and the Obama Administration, given the experience we had with Ebola and other things, it was one of the very few things that we talked to the incoming administration about as we were leaving office. We all got together for a couple of hours."
Asked earlier to comment on Trump's decision to bar entry of non-citizens traveling from Brazil after a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in the South American country, Johnson said the "the principal effort is here at home."
"The principal effort, intellectual energy right now has to be going into combating the virus, urging the American people to please continue to be patient with physical distancing," he explained. "The weather is getting warmer. We are all getting cabin fever, [but] this is a highly dangerous situation. We are making progress, but we've got to keep at it."