Vice President Mike Pence reportedly urged governors during a conference call on Monday to present a misleadingly rosy, Trump-friendly explanation of the spike in COVID-19 cases to their constituents.
According to the New York Times’ audio of the call, Pence asserted that as the governors discuss the increasing rates of COVID-19 with their constituents, they also ought to “continue to explain to your citizens the magnitude of the increase in testing” and “encourage people with the news that we’re safely reopening the country.”
President Donald Trump has been blaming the rising number of COVID-19 cases on increased testing, which he argues “makes us look bad.”
“If you don’t test, you don’t have any cases. If we stopped testing right now, we’d have very few cases, if any,” Trump said during a Cabinet Room meeting on Monday afternoon.
However, that’s a false portrayal of the situation. In fact, the Washington Post notes that the surge in cases outpaces the increase in testing in 14 states, while in seven states the COVID-19 case rates have been growing even as the number of tests in those states decline.