Joe Biden’s campaign is slamming President Donald Trump as ‘outrageous’ after he said during his Oklahoma rally last night that he wants the country to slow down coronavirus testing to reduce the number of reported infection cases.
Trump held his first political rally in four months on Saturday night in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but despite his high anticipation, rows upon rows of seats were noticeably empty.
The president said ‘testing is a double-edged sword’ when speaking on the coronavirus crisis that has infected over two million and killed over 119,000 in the US.
But Trump shocked his political opponent when he said that he asked his administration to ‘slow the testing down please’ to lower the number of reported cases.
Biden’s campaign manager hit back in a statement saying: ‘To hear him say tonight that he has ordered testing slowed — a transparent attempt to make the numbers look better — is appalling.’
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said on CNN Sunday morning that Trump’s claim at the rally was in jest and ‘tongue in cheek’.
Joe Biden’s campaign is slamming President Donald Trump as ‘outrageous’ after he said during his Oklahoma rally last night that he wants the country to slow down coronavirus testing to reduce the number of infection cases
‘Here’s the bad part. When you test to that extent, you are going to find more people, find more cases. So I said to my people, “Slow the testing down please.” They test and they test,’ Trump said at the Saturday rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma
In response Biden’s deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield released this statement Saturday evening
In his complaint Trump said: ‘We have tested now 25 million people. It is probably 20 million people more than anybody else.’
‘Here’s the bad part. When you test to that extent, you are going to find more people, find more cases. So I said to my people, “Slow the testing down please.” They test and they test,’ he said.
Biden’s campaign was quick to hit back, accusing the president of putting his politics above the nation’s health and wellbeing.
‘Trump just admitted that he’s putting politics ahead of the safety and economic well-being of the American people — even as we just recorded the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in almost two months and 20 million workers remain out of work,’ Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s deputy campaign manager said in a statement late Saturday.
‘More than three months ago, Donald Trump claimed that “anbody that wants a test can get a test.” This was a lie – one that cost thousands of lives. Tonight in Tulsa, the President explained why America lagged so many other nations in testing: because he “said to my people slow the test down please,”‘ the statement added.
She warned that his incendiary statements at the rally would linger ‘long after tonight’s debacle of a rally’.
Biden tweeted Saturday night ‘Speed up testing’ in a direct jab to the president
Biden’s campaign said that the loss of nearly 120,000 Americans to the virus and skyrocketing unemployment is blamed in a large part on Trump’s leadership and failure to quickly mobilize mass testing.
‘Americans deserve a president who will not make excuses in a crisis. They deserve a president who will lead, and that’s exactly what Joe Biden will do,’ the statement said.
Speaking on the coronavirus pandemic at the rally, Trump said he’s done a ‘phenomenal job’ in office in curbing the pandemic.
‘Despite the fact that we, I have done a phenomenal job. I shut down the United States to heavily infected people from China in late January which is months earlier than the other people would have done it if they would have done it at all. I saved hundreds of thousands of lives,’ Trump bragged.
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said on CNN Sunday morning that Trump’s claim at the rally was in jest and ‘tongue in cheek’
Still, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro justified Trump’s comments as lighthearted.
He was asked about Trump’s troubling words during an interview on CNN’s Jake Tapper on State of the Union Sunday morning.
Navarro said: ‘Come on now, Jake. You know it was tongue in cheek. Come on now. That was tongue in cheek.’
‘I don’t know that it was tongue in cheek at all,’ Tapper said.
‘That’s news for you, tongue in cheek,’ Navarro said.
‘Come on. It was a light moment,’ he added.
Trump’s comments came as states have seen a resurgance in COVID-19 cases after opening up.
In Florida, Georgia, Texas and Arizona – states that loosened their stay-at-home restrictions early – daily deaths have been quietly rising since early June.
Rising case numbers can partially be explained by the wider availability of testing. Mild cases, previously undetected because of limits on who could be tested, are now showing up in the numbers.