President Donald Trump now says that he was not kidding when he told rallygoers over the weekend that he asked staff to slow down coronavirus testing, undercutting senior members of his own administration who said the comment was made in jest.
“I don’t kid, let me just tell you, let me make it clear,” Trump told a reporter, when asked again if he was kidding when he said Saturday he instructed his administration to slow down coronavirus testing.
The President then sought to highlight the US coronavirus testing numbers and asserted that “by having more tests, we have more cases.”
Trump’s comment is the latest in an evolving set of explanations about whether he actually instructed his administration to slow down coronavirus testing because an increased number of cases made the country look bad — based on a comment made at his rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Trump had told supporters at the rally that Covid-19 testing was “a double-edged sword.”
“I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down please,’ ” the President had said.
After the President made the comment, multiple White House officials asserted that the President was joking.
But Trump had a different story, telling a reporter that though he never gave an order to slow down testing, he really did tell his people that the United States would look better if fewer coronavirus tests were performed.
In an interview with CBN News that aired Monday evening, Trump said he told his “people” — presumably his staff or Cabinet members — about his perceived “disadvantage” to expanded coronavirus testing, adding that he never ordered testing levels be lowered.
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