Trump Dodging On Why He Slowed Down Testing
June 22, 2020
The White House is in damage control after Trump admitted that he told officials to “slow the testing down.” And now, Trump just doubled down on his comment by dodging direct questions and suggesting that a testing slowdown was good.
Trump twice refused to answer direct questions on whether he slowed down testing, and suggested if he had slowed it down it was a good thing.
Scripps Television’s Joe St. George: “Just asked President Trump if he actually ordered testing to be slowed down. He said in his Saturday speech he did. He didn’t answer the direct question.”
TRUMP: “If we did slow it down, we wouldn’t show nearly as many cases. … If it did slow down, frankly I think we’re way ahead of ourselves, if you want to know the truth. We’ve done too good a job.”
While Trump doubles down on claiming less testing is better, his administration can’t get its story straight in walking back his admission.
CBS’s Ed O’Keefe: “President Trump’s comments at an Oklahoma campaign rally about slowing down testing for #Coronavirus were just ‘a passing observation’ and not meant in jest, @VP Pence told governors on Monday, multiple people on the call tell @CBSNews.”
CNN: “White House trade adviser Peter Navarro claimed Sunday that President Donald Trump was being ‘tongue in cheek’ when Trump revealed at a campaign rally that he’s told officials in his administration to slow down coronavirus testing because of the rising number of cases in America.”
Washington Post: “Acting secretary of homeland security Chad Wolf offered a different explanation, saying during an appearance on CBS News’s ‘Face the Nation’ Sunday that the comments were rooted in Trump’s frustration with the press.”
At the same time, Trump has failed to use $14 billion allocated by Congress for testing and contact tracing.
NBC News: “The Trump administration has been sitting on nearly $14 billion in funding that Congress passed for coronavirus testing and contact tracing, according to Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Patty Murray of Washington.”
Trump’s testing failures don’t end there. His administration has spent more than $200 million on COVID tests that have high false negative rates.
Kaiser Health News: “In mid-May, the Food and Drug Administration issued a rare public warning about an Abbott Laboratories COVID-19 test that for weeks had received high praise from the White House because of its speed: Test results could be wrong.”
Kaiser Health News: “President Donald Trump has featured the product in the White House Rose Garden and the Health and Human Services Department’s preparedness and response division has issued more than $205 million worth of contracts to buy the test, according to federal contract records.”
States still can’t get the help and supplies they need from the federal government, including on testing.
CNN: “States say federal coronavirus help still falling short”
CNN: “The federal government has responded to many of the state’s requests, but the deliveries often include different types of swabs than were requested — which can throw a wrench in the state’s testing strategy — and the timing of deliveries is often erratic.”
Trump’s testing failures have made the crisis worse with COVID infections spiking across the country.
CNN: “Nearly half of states are reporting a rise in new cases and some continue to break records in their daily reported cases.”