Trump Refuses To Confirm Whether He Asked Staff To ‘Slow The Testing Down’ For COVID-19

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 17: U.S. President Donald Trump gestures during an East Room event to announce the “PREVENTS Task Force” at the White House June 17, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump held the event to... WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 17: U.S. President Donald Trump gestures during an East Room event to announce the “PREVENTS Task Force” at the White House June 17, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump held the event to announce plans to prevent suicides among U.S. military veterans. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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June 22, 2020 1:13 p.m.

Amid ongoing attempts to save face as the number of positive coronavirus cases continues to rise around the country, President Trump would not say whether or not he had requested that his staff “slow the testing down.”

Trump originally made the remark during a poorly attended reelection rally in Tulsa on Saturday, in a speech that also ridiculed health experts and mocked the coronavirus’ Chinese origins. Joe St. George, a reporter for “Scripps” confronted the president in an interview on Monday about the claim, asking if it meant fewer tests would be available to Americans as a result.

Trump responded with a familiar groan about how more testing means more cases.  “We do more testing than any other country by far,” he said.

When pushed again on the question and whether or not the President had pushed for a slow-down of testing, Trump again demurred. 

“We’re so far advanced,” the President said touting both the “quality” and “the amount” of tests.  

Trump’s latest comments come after his repeated gripes over the bad PR optics of testing. “As you do more tests it shows more and more cases,” Trump told St. George.

Put simply, more testing digs up more cases of infection — a fact that does not bode well for a president who is getting back on the campaign trail for reelection and has been criticized for his mishandling of the pandemic. 

“If it did slow down, frankly, I think we’re way ahead of ourselves, if you want to know the truth we’ve done too good a job,” Trump added in the interview.

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