Another Briefing, Another Day of Lies About Trump’s Testing Travesty

Trump used today’s briefing to spread more lies about his failed response to the coronavirus, particularly about his administration’s failure to ramp up testing early on, which allowed the virus to spread rapidly and undetected.

Trump once again shifted blame to states and hospitals for a shortage of coronavirus tests that his administration developed and distributes.

TRUMP: “Hospitals can do their own testing, also. States can do their own testing. … We’re the federal government, we’re not supposed to stand on street corners doing testing.”

Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey: “‘You should say congratulations, great job,’ Trump says to a reporter who questions him about hospitals concerned about a lack of testing.”

CNN’s Jake Tapper: “One month ago today, President Trump visited CDC and said, falsely, ‘anybody who wants a test gets a test.’ Wasn’t true then and isn’t true now. Today he kicked it to states and hospitals, saying the federal government is ‘not supposed to stand on street corners doing testing.’”

New York Times: “Testing availability remains a signature failure of the battle against the coronavirus in the United States, despite President Trump’s boast last week that he got a rapid test and results within minutes.”

Trump took his lies about the U.S.’s testing capabilities one step further by claiming the U.S. had done more tests “proportionally” than any other country — that’s demonstrably false.

TRUMP: “If they did the kind of testing proportionally that we’re doing, they’d have many more cases than us.”

Washington Post’s Aaron Blake: “Fact check: The U.S. has tested a lower proportion of its population than others.”

Trump tried to claim that the U.S. has more confirmed cases of coronavirus because we’ve done more testing, but it was Trump’s failure to test early that allowed cases to explode in our country.

New York Times’s Katie Rogers: “Trump says 1,790,000 covid tests have been administered so far in the US, and says capacity is growing by 125k a day.  ‘One of the reasons we have more cases is that we’ve done more testing,’ he says. (Another variable, of course, is administration’s speed to implement testing.)”

Washington Post: “The most consequential failure involved a breakdown in efforts to develop a diagnostic test that could be mass produced and distributed across the United States, enabling agencies to map early outbreaks of the disease, and impose quarantine measures to contain them.”

Trump again denied the critical supplies shortage facing states and hospitals, and dismissed an inspector general report confirming he’s responsible as merely political, despite the fact the IG was elevated to her position by Trump’s own administration.

CNN’s Sam Vinograd: “Trump asks when the leadership of the @HHSGov @OIGatHHS office was appointed (as if that matters). Christi Grimm was promoted to her leadership position this January. Under Trump.”

TRUMP: ‘Most of the critical needs are being more than met.”

Los Angeles Times: “The 34-page report released Monday was based on hundreds of interviews of administrators at 323 medical centers coast to coast from March 23 to 27. It largely validated reports from news organizations, and painted a far more dire picture than the one President Trump describes at his daily news conferences.”

Trump’s administration botched the rollout of a small business loan program, but he dismissed the problems that could be disastrous for small businesses and their employees, claiming it’s “really been performing well” and is off to a “tremendous start.”

TRUMP: “It’s only been going for a couple of days, it’s really been performing well.”

TRUMP: “Why don’t you say, it’s gotten off to a tremendous start? Minor glitches.”

NBC News: “Thousands of applicants, zero loans: Trump’s small businesses lending program is a failure to launch”

Bloomberg News’s Jennifer Jacobs: “BREAKING: The Small Business Administration’s loan processing platform was down today, halting for hours lenders’ ability to process any loans for small business owners seeking relief from the impact of the coronavirus.”

Trump once again falsely claimed that he was using the Defense Production Act “powerfully.” Reality check: Trump has refused to utilize the full force of the federal government, leaving supply chains in disarray and forcing states to bid against each other for products.

CNN’s Daniel Dale: “Trump says he’s used the Defense Production Act so ‘powerfully’ that he doesn’t have to use it too much.”

CNN: “In the midst of widespread complaints of the federal government’s response, governors are stepping in to loan resources and move critical supplies directly to the hot spots.”

Politico: “Trump is still facing a buzzsaw of criticism for not fully unleashing the might of the federal government to blunt the virus’ spread. Leaders from hard-hit states say they are still not receiving the ventilators and protective medical gear their hospitals desperately need and are often pitted against each other to procure them, despite the president finally moving to invoke parts of the law designed to coordinate a federal crisis response.”

Trump once again claimed the coronavirus “came out of nowhere” but he was warned multiple times by multiple agencies and did nothing.

Politico’s Carla Marinucci: Trump in briefing on COVID-19:  ‘This came out of nowhere’ — not true, multiple stories have documented warnings Administration received months ago. And ‘we had the greatest economy in the history of the world.’ Again, not true.”

Washington Post’s Paul Farhi: “Trump now repeating the ‘this came out of nowhere’ line about the virus. Doesn’t mention comments downplaying it for weeks and 2-plus months of briefings before declaring national emergency on March 13.”

Washington Post: “It took 70 days from that initial notification for Trump to treat the coronavirus not as a distant threat or harmless flu strain well under control, but as a lethal force that had outflanked America’s defenses and was poised to kill tens of thousands of citizens.”

Associated Press: “US ‘wasted’ months before preparing for coronavirus pandemic”