White House blames media on Trump COVID-19 testing remark


The White House faced continued questions on Monday about President Donald Trump's remark at a campaign rally on Saturday that he had seemingly urged officials to slow testing for the Coronavirus, as the President's press secretary faulted the media, and the President himself danced around the question.

"The President was trying to expose what the media often times does is they ignore the fact that the United States has more cases, because we have more testing," White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters.

"Any suggestion that testing has been curtailed is not rooted in fact," McEnany added.

The first explanation from the White House was that the President was joking when he made his 'slow the testing' remark.

"He was not joking about the Coronavirus," McEnany added. "I just said he was joking about the media."

Earlier on Monday, President Trump did a series of TV interviews at the White House, and was asked about the testing matter.

"Did you ask to slow it down?"

The President paused before answering.

"If it did slow down, frankly I think we are way ahead of ourselves, if you want to know the truth," Mr. Trump said. "We've done too good a job."

Democrats piled on the President over his remarks, accusing him of being more concerned about not having larger numbers of positive tests, because it might reflect badly on how he's handled the situation.

"Amazing," said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY). "He said that."

"This weekend, the President bragged about telling people to slow down testing because he didn’t like how it reflected on him," said Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH). "He’d rather Americans die than have to take responsibility."

Democrats also demanded to know why the Trump Administration has not yet released $14 billion in funding for states - to help with expanded Coronavirus testing.

"This inexcusable delay is hurting families and communities," said Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). "These funds should be distributed now."

Questions over the Trump Administration's response to the Coronavirus outbreak come as data shows a diverging story - even as cases climb again, the number of deaths in the U.S. has continued to drop.

"The fatality numbers, we're pleased to see that number coming down," McEnany said at Monday's White House briefing.

On Sunday, only 312 deaths were reported in the entire nation from the Coronavirus, the lowest figure since late March, when the outbreak was just beginning to be felt.

But higher positive test numbers were causing concern especially in Florida, Texas, and Arizona.

"COVID-19 is now spreading at an unacceptable rate in the state of Texas and it must be corralled," said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R).