President Trump, undercutting the defense of his own administration, said he was not kidding when he said he asked for a slowdown in coronavirus testing. The President also called testing a “double-edged sword.”
“I don’t kid, let me just tell you, let me make it clear,” Trump said today when asked if he was kidding about the comment he made at his rally on Saturday.
Trump’s comments came less than an hour before Dr. Anthony Fauci and other health experts were set to testify before a House committee on the administration’s coronavirus response.
Shortly after Trump said at the rally that he had asked his people to “slow the testing down please,” an administration official told CNN the president was “obviously kidding.”
On Monday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters during a press briefing that Trump was speaking “in jest” and “in passing” at the rally.
The President, speaking to reporters on at the White House ahead of his departure for Arizona, again praised the amount of testing the United States has done, but blamed that same testing for the increase in coronavirus cases.
“We test better than anybody in the world. Our tests are the best in the world and we have the most of them. By having more tests, we find more cases,” Trump said. “If you look at other countries they did 1 million, 2 million, 3 million, big countries. We did 25 million, way more, by double, triple, quadruple, than any other country. Therefore, we test, we’re gonna have more cases.”
The President did also say that testing is helpful for locating where cases are, but because it shows more cases, he views that as “a double edged sword.”
“By having more cases, it sounds bad. But actually what it is, is we’re finding people. Many of those people aren’t sick or very little, they may be young people. But what’s happened is because of all of the cases that we find, we have a very low mortality rate. Just about the best in the world. So that’s the advantage to the testing along with other things,” Trump said.
“Testing is a double-edged sword. In one way it tells you you have cases, in another way, you find out where the cases are and you do a good job. We are doing a great job, we have never been credited for it. We are doing the best testing job anywhere in the world,” he added.