Dr. Anthony Fauci denied being told to slow down on testing for the coronavirus while appearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday regarding the Trump administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During his campaign rally Saturday in Tulsa, President Trump told attendees that that he asked his administration to “slow the testing down, please” on the novel coronavirus.
On Tuesday morning, Trump doubled down on his claim by telling reporters “I don’t kid” when pressed on whether he was joking when he made the claim at his poorly attended rally. Trump’s latest comments contradict White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany’s explanation the day before when she said that the President made the comment at the rally “in jest.”
Fauci’s testimony starkly contrasted remarks that the President made just hours before.
“To my knowledge, none of us have ever been told to slow down on testing,” Fauci said. “That just is a fact. In fact, we will be doing more testing as you’ve heard from Adm. Brett Giroir (assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services).”
Fauci added that in addition to testing, more efforts will be made to identify, isolate and contact trace.
“But also much more surveillance if you want to get your arms around and understand exactly what’s going on in community spread,” Fauci said. “So it’s the opposite. We’re going to be doing more testing, not less.”
Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, agreed with Fauci shortly after, saying that “we’re continuing to increase testing” because “it’s a critical underpinning to our response.”
Watch Fauci’s remarks below:
Fauci: “To my knowledge none of us has ever been told to slow down on testing.” pic.twitter.com/xguX539RRO
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) June 23, 2020