The coronavirus era comes packaged with publicity stunts by countries and billionaires that don’t hold up when you look at the details. There’s Elon Musk’s CPAP ventilators. And China sending aid consisting of defective and substandard medical equipment.
And socialist Twitter, particularly its Assadist components, went wild over Russia sending a coronavirus aid shipment to America. Max Blumenthal’s Twitter account was tracking the arrival of the plane as if it were the coming of the messiah he doesn’t believe in.
The actual reality turned out to be not a humanitarian aid shipment, but a sale.
A 60-ton shipment of coronavirus supplies from Russia to New York was purchased by the US at a discount, according to a US official.
The supplies, which photos show were delivered Wednesday on a tarmac at New York’s JFK Airport, were characterized as “aid” by Russia’s government, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted Wednesday night that the US actually bought the masks, respirators and other protective equipment.
In a statement to The Post, a senior administration official said that the items were purchased at a below-market rate.
“The United States is purchasing the supplies and equipment outright, as with deliveries from other countries,” the official said. “We appreciate Russia selling these items to us below market value.”
Market value is a meaningless term as the current rush has vastly inflated the price of masks and any protective gear. So below market value can mean literally any number at this point.
Now that’s helpful, but it’s not what the Russians or some of the Assadists were claiming this was.
On Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin made the offer and “Trump gratefully accepted this humanitarian aid,” a chronology confirmed by US officials.
If you sell it, it’s not humanitarian aid. Discounting it doesn’t make it humanitarian aid. If you want credit for aid, you give it away.
But the Kremlin wants the propaganda points and the cash. Not surprising from a mafia state. But you can only get one or the other.