WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump has not directed any slowdown in coronavirus testing and does not regret using the term “kung flu,” which many consider offensive, to describe the virus, the White House said Monday.
The Republican president said at a political rally in Oklahoma on Saturday that he had ordered his people to slow down the tests to detect the virus because the process had led to more known cases of COVID-19.
The White House said at the time that it was joking and made it clear Monday that no such request was made.
“It was a comment he made as a joke,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said at a press conference. She said Trump had not told officials to lower the testing rate. “He has not directed that,” he said. “Any suggestion that the evidence has been scaled down is not in fact rooted.”
Trump sees numerical measures as signs of victory or failure. He has repeatedly regretted the fact that better tests in the US USA They have led to a higher known number of identified coronavirus cases across the country.
Trump has also tried to reinforce that the virus originated in China.
But he has faced criticism for referring to the virus as Chinese. He abstained from that characterization for a time, but in Saturday’s demonstration he used “kung flu” to describe it, despite criticism that the use of such terms had led to acts of discrimination against Asian Americans.
When asked by a journalist why the President was using racist language, McEnany said no.
“It is linking him to his place of origin,” he said. “I think the media is trying to play with the terminology of this virus, where the focus should be on the fact that China has let its country out.”
Additional report by Doina Chiacu; Edition by Cynthia Osterman