Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, President Trump doubled down on his claim that case numbers are increasing in the US. USA Due to increased testing, he said he was not joking when he said Saturday during a demonstration in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that he told officials to slow down testing, a day after the White House insisted that the president was talking “jokingly”.
The United States accounted for 20% of all new coronavirus infections worldwide on Sunday, according to data from the New York Times, and case numbers are increasing dramatically in states across the country.
Trump has dismissed concerns about a surge in cases, alleging last week in an interview with Fox News that the virus would simply “fade away.”
At a campaign rally Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Trump said he had asked his “people” to “delay testing” because the increased testing revealed more infections, making the country look bad.
During a White House press conference Monday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany sought to clarify Trump’s comments on a slowdown in testing, alleging that “any suggestion that testing has been reduced it is not rooted in the facts “and that the president’s comments were made” jokingly. “
On Tuesday, when asked by CBS News reporter Weijia Jiang if he was joking when he said he told his “people” to slow down the rate of evidence, Trump replied “I’m not kidding,” adding that the evidence is “double weapons. edge”.
The same day on Twitter, Trump doubled down on his claim that case numbers are increasing in the U.S. USA Due to increased testing, he suggested that “smaller tests” would help the US. USA To “show fewer cases”.
Later Tuesday, McEnany told reporters aboard Air Force One that the president was using “sarcasm” in his original comment on the slowdown in evidence during his rally, although that was not what Trump said hours earlier.
“The tests are a double-edged sword,” Trump said at the Tulsa rally on Saturday, adding that the United States has conducted 25 million tests. “When you do the testing up to that point, you’re going to find more people, you’re going to find more cases, so I said to my people, ‘Drop the test, please.'”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Democrat of California) condemned Trump’s comments on the evidence at his campaign rally in Tulsa on Saturday night, suggesting that any effort to restrict the evidence will mean “more Americans will lose their lives”.
“The president is not ethically fit and intellectually unprepared to lead,” Pelosi said in a statement.
The United States has dramatically increased testing, administering more than 400,000 tests per day, compared to less than 20,000 tests per day in early March, but any claim of increased cases can be attributed to increased testing is misleading. In some states, positivity rates are increasing even as testing expands; More than 20 states, most of them in the South and Midwest, have positivity rates above 5%, the threshold that the World Health Organization says states must stay below to reopen safely.
Last week, Vice President Pence sparked controversy by pushing a misleading claim that an increase in coronavirus cases is due to increased evidence.
“I would recommend to everyone, as we talk about these things, that they make sure and continue to explain to their citizens the extent of the increase in testing,” Pence said in a call with the governors, according to the New York Times.
Two employees who attended the President Trump rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday, bringing the total number of coronavirus-infected team members involved in the rally to eight.
Coronavirus infections soared in Florida, nearly 4,000 new cases reported FridayForbes)
Trump tells the Tulsa crowd that he wanted to ‘slow down’ the COVID-19 tests; The White House says he was joking (NBC News)
The White House claims that Trump only joked when he said he ordered the COVID tests slow down (ABC News)
Pelosi condemns Trump’s comments on the slowdown in coronavirus testing (Washington Post)
Despite Trump’s claim, the increase in new coronavirus cases is not just a function of the evidence (Washington Post)