In an expansion of what became a highly controversial comment at President Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday, Trump explained in an interview broadcast Tuesday that he had been hyperbolically joking about a “slowdown” in COVID-19 tests.
In the “Fox & Friends” exclusive with host Brian Kilmeade, Trump echoed many of his comments on Saturday’s performance, but he also denied that he had ordered a slowdown in coronavirus testing and lamented that more cases and Test rates make the United States look bad “although it should make us look good.”
TRUMP DEFENDS THE CORONAVIRUS TESTING COMMENT, SAYS MORE TESTS MAKE “WE SEE LIKE WE HAVE MORE CASES”
“You know, what we did is a miracle, between the fans and all the things we did. But, we got so good at the tests that we did 25 million tests. We did 20 or 21 million more than Germany and these other countries,” stated on Monday. “If you do more testing, that means you will have more cases. So we have done so well that we are showing that we have many cases.”
“And they all say they have more cases. Well, we have more cases because we have more evidence,” Trump added. “So they can assess a child who has a cold and it will get better in about two hours, because you know, young children have done incredibly well.”
“I guess his immune system or whatever is stronger,” said the president. “So when you do 25 million tests, you’re going to show that you have cases. And by doing all those tests, while it’s good to do them one way, another way, it makes us look bad. And it’s crazy.”
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). USA They show that the total number of tests reported is around 27 million, with around 10 percent of those that tested positive. However, health experts argue that the increased number of COVID-19 cases has less to do with more evidence and more to do with more cases.
Furthermore, although the US USA They may have done most coronavirus testing compared to any other country, they have lagged behind in per capita testing.
According to data provided by Johns Hopkins University, there are currently more than 2.3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States alone, and more than 120,000 American lives have now been claimed.
In comparison, Germany has recorded just over 192,000 cases with almost 9,000 reported deaths.
While attendees told reporters that the president was only joking about curtailing the evidence, the comments provoked a backlash.
“I can’t believe he has to say this, but we should speed up the tests, not delay them,” presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden wrote in a tweet Sunday, which included a campaign ad criticizing Trump for the comments.
But Trump has mentioned in the past that the more people test positive for the coronavirus, the worse the crisis will worsen, despite the fact that experts have said a robust testing system is necessary for the nation to return to normalcy entirely. . of the pandemic. And his administration has been largely behind the drive to rapidly increase testing capacity in the United States as part of what Trump called a “phenomenal” response to the crisis.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Monday afternoon that Trump had, in fact, not ordered a slowdown in coronavirus testing and claimed his comment to the contrary in Tulsa had been made “in jest “
“Any suggestion that testing has been reduced is not really ingrained,” McEnany said, alleging that Trump was trying to expose the media for reporting increases in coronavirus cases without acknowledging an increase in testing.
“It was a comment he made as a joke,” said McEnany.
“But you don’t mean, do you mean delaying testing?” Kilmeade asked Trump.
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“No, I’m not talking about slowing down, but if we did or we didn’t do that many, let’s say instead of 25 million tests, we did five million tests, we’d be very low on cases right now. And everyone would say: “Isn’t it wonderful?” He replied.
“By doing so much and being so advanced, we not only did a lot of testing, but we are much more advanced than anyone else: we have the five-minute test. We have tests that they don’t even think of, other countries. You know, you hear about South Korea “They always congratulated me on the great job I have done with the tests. But the media – fake news does not spread the word,” he complained.
“So we’ve done 25 million tests. That means we show a lot of cases. And that’s fine. But it makes us look bad, although it should make us look good,” the president concluded.
Later Tuesday morning, the President went to Twitter and wrote: “Cases are increasing in the US. Because we are testing much more than in any other country, and expanding. With smaller tests we would show less. cases!
Tyler Olson and Casey Stegall of Fox News contributed to this report.