President TrumpDonald John Trump South Korea criticizes Bolton’s book as ‘distorting reality’ of nuclear talks Democrats face tough questions with Bolton protesters trying to tear down Andrew Jackson statue near White House MORE He said Tuesday that the United States would record fewer cases of the new coronavirus with fewer tests after stirring up controversy by saying that over the weekend it asked attendees to slow down the speed of testing.
“Cases are increasing in the US. USA Because we are testing much more than any other country, and we are expanding. With smaller tests we would show fewer cases! Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.
Cases are increasing in the US USA Because we are testing much more than any other country and we are expanding. With smaller tests we would show fewer cases!
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 23, 2020
Trump has been scrutinized for saying at a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday that the tests were a “double-edged sword” and that he told his staff to “stop the tests, please.” The White House has said the comment was a joke.
“It was a joking comment,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters Monday. “It’s a comment she made in passing, specifically regarding media coverage, and points to the fact that the media never acknowledges that we have more cases because when you examine more people, you find more cases.”
Trump denied telling his administration to cut tests in an interview Monday with CBN News, but said he believed widespread testing put the United States at a “disadvantage.” Trump said his comment at the rally was “semi-ironic.”
“Instead of 25 million tests, let’s say we did 10 million tests. It seems like we’re doing much better because we would have far fewer cases. You get it,” Trump said. “I would not do that, but I will say this: we do much more than other countries that, in a way, make us look bad, but in reality we are doing the right thing.”
The United States currently leads the world in coronavirus cases with more than 2.3 million positive tests. More than 120,000 Americans have died from COVID-19.
Trump’s comments on the evidence come as multiple states are experiencing spikes in the cases after loosening restrictions meant to curb the spread of the virus so companies can reopen. Cases began to rise nationwide over the weekend after the plateau, with states such as Arizona, Texas, and Florida experiencing sharp increases in cases.
The White House has tried to minimize concerns about the new spikes, attributing them in part to an expansion of the tests, although health experts say the increases in cases cannot be explained by increasing tests alone.