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Donald Trump says he told administration to ‘slow down testing’ to reduce positive COVID-19 cases

President Trump on Saturday ignited outrage after calling the coronavirus ‘kung flu’ during his comeback rally in Tulsa while claiming that he ordered his administration to slow testing for the disease.

Trump said he asked his administration to slow down coronavirus testing because robust testing turns up too many cases of COVID-19.

But the White House later told reporters that the president was joking. 

Trump told supporters at his campaign rally that the US has tested 25 million people, far more than any other country.

The ‘bad part,’ Trump said, is that widespread testing leads to logging more cases of the virus.

President Trump on Saturday told supporters in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that he ordered his administration to slow down the pace of coronavirus testing

So far, more than 121,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 and more than 2.1 million have been infected. The image above shows Kim Desmond (left) getting swabbed for coronavirus at a testing site in Denver on Saturday

So far, more than 121,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 and more than 2.1 million have been infected. The image above shows Kim Desmond (left) getting swabbed for coronavirus at a testing site in Denver on Saturday

‘When you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people, you’re going to find more cases,’ Trump said.

‘So I said to my people, “Slow the testing down, please.”

‘They test and they test.’

Trump opted to hold his first rally in 110 days despite concerns from local health officials that it could lead to further spread of the virus in Tulsa.

Most of those in attendance declined to wear a mask.

The number of newly confirmed cases per day has risen from about 21,400 two weeks ago to 23,200, according to an Associated Press analysis.

And 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. 

The campaign of Trump’s Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, released a statement on Saturday blasting the president for saying his administration slowed testing.

‘In an outrageous moment that will be remembered long after tonight’s debacle of a rally, President 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,’ campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said. 

Trump sparked outrage on social media when he referred to coronavirus as 'kung flu'

Trump sparked outrage on social media when he referred to coronavirus as ‘kung flu’

‘Trump’s catastrophic mismanagement of our nation’s response to the worst public health crisis in over 100 years began with ignoring countless warnings from his own officials and selling us out to the Chinese government for a hollow trade deal — and that mismanagement continues to this day as he continues to put his own political interests first while many states see spikes in deadly infections.’

She added: ‘To hear him say tonight that he has ordered testing slowed – a transparent attempt to make the numbers look better – is appalling.’

The president also ignited outrage by referring to the coronavirus as ‘kung flu.’ 

‘It has more names than any disease in history,’ the president told thousands of his supporters inside the BOK Center on Saturday.

‘I can name kung flu. I can name 19 different versions of names.’

‘Kung flu’ is a play on words that combines ‘kung fu’ – the Chinese martial art – and the word ‘flu.’

The coronavirus, which is believed to have originated in Wuhan, China, has been referred to by the president as the ‘Wuhan virus’ or the ‘Chinese virus’.

Linking the virus, which has caused a pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than 121,000 Americans, to China has led to an uptick in hate crimes against Asian Americans in recent months.

The president has defended his handling of the pandemic, though his administration has been blamed for its response to the virus that has so far infected more than 2 million Americans.

In March, the president denied that using the term ‘Wuhan virus’ or ‘Chinese virus’ was racist.

It’s ‘not racist at all,’ Trump told reporters in March.

‘It comes from China. I want to be accurate.’

The reaction to Trump’s comments on Saturday was fierce, as Twitter users assailed the president for using racist language.

Jennifer Taub tweeted: ‘Trump is a racist pig. He just called Covid-19 “Kung Flu”.’

An organization called Republican Voters Against Trump tweeted: ‘Enough of this racist bile. Enough.’

Peter Rosenberg tweeted: ‘Yo this man just said “Kung Flu” to describe Coronavirus … he is unhinged because this rally is empty.’

Rabia O’Chaudry tweeted: ‘He just said Kung Flu. He’s so effing disgusting.’

Santiago Mayer tweeted: ‘Everytime the President calls it “Kung Flu” he is belittling the nearly 120,000 Americans who have died of Coronavirus.

‘What he is doing is not only not Presidential, but it lacks basic human decency and humility.

‘F*** him.’

Another Twitter user wrote: ‘Not Kung Flu…we HAVE to get 45 out.’

On March 17, Weijia Jiang, a White House correspondent for CBS News, reported that a White House official referred to coronavirus as ‘kung flu’ right to her face.

‘This morning a White House official referred to #Coronavirus as the “Kung-Flu” to my face,’ Jiang tweeted.

‘Makes me wonder what they’re calling it behind my back.’

The next day, Kellyanne Conway, a top Trump aide, said reports that a White House official used the term ‘kung flu’ were ‘highly offensive.’

‘I’d like to know who they are,’ Conway said when asked to comment about the remark.

‘But hold on, you can’t just say that and not name them. Tell us who it was.

‘Come up here and tell us who it was.’

Conway declined to condemn the White House official, though she said ‘of course it’s wrong.’

CBS News White House correspondent Weijia Jiang reported in March that a White House official referred to coronavirus as 'kung flu' to her face

CBS News White House correspondent Weijia Jiang reported in March that a White House official referred to coronavirus as ‘kung flu’ to her face

‘But you can’t just make an accusation and not tell us who it is,’ Conway said.

She then turned to Jiang and asked: ‘Who is it?’

Jiang replied: ‘I think you understand how these conversations go. I am also a journalist.’

‘I don’t know how these conversations go and that’s highly offensive,’ Conway replied.

‘So, you should tell us all who it is. I’d like to know who it is.’

Conway continued: ‘I’m not going to engage in hypotheticals. I’m married to an Asian.’

‘I mean, I’m not engaging in hypotheticals,’ she said.

‘I’m married to an Asian … my kids are partly – I’m married to an Asian American, my kids are 25 percent Filipino.’

Conway’s husband is George Conway, a conservative lawyer who has gained a massive Twitter following after emerging as one of Trump’s fiercest critics.

George Conway is half Filipino. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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