Donald Trump used a whole lot of words to refuse to say “no” when asked if he really told his administration to slow down coronavirus testing. During his flop of a Tulsa rally Saturday, Trump had bragged about doing exactly that, saying “testing is a double-edged sword” and “when you do testing to that extent, you're going to find more people; you're going to find more cases. So I said to my people, slow the testing down please.” White House officials had claimed Trump was joking, except that it sure didn’t look like he was, and the statement was in line with other things he’s said about the negatives he perceives in testing.
Asked about it on Monday, Trump tried to deflect and dodge, but it was Trump, so he also fumbled and stumbled and confirmed that his view is that testing causes cases. “If it did slow down, frankly, I think we’re way ahead of ourselves, if you wanna know the truth. We’ve done too good of a job,” he ultimately said.
But it was what came immediately before that line that was the most telling. Trump had been rambling on about how “Every time you do a test, it shows more and more cases” and “You’re showing people that are asymptomatic, you’re showing people that have very little problem, you’re showing young people that don’t have a problem.”
The reporter finally moved to pin him down: “But did you ask to slow it down?”
And the most telling moment, more telling than the flood of words that had come before, was the “Uhhhhh” Trump started his response with, before moving on to the non-denial of “If it did slow down, frankly, I think we’re way ahead of ourselves, if you wanna know the truth. We’ve done too good of a job.”
Watch that “Uhhhh.” It’s at 44 seconds into the video below.
More than 120,000 people are dead and he says “We’ve done too good a job.”
More than 120,000 people are dead and it’s clear that the official White House talking point is “we’ve tested 25 million people,” as they continue to fight the battle, defensive about how slow the U.S. was to start testing in remotely adequate numbers. That 25 million came up as acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf tried to defend Trump’s Saturday remarks.
“What you heard from the president was frustration—frustration in the sense of that we are testing, I believe we've tested over 25 million Americans. We've tested more than any other country in this world,” Wolf said on CBS' Face the Nation. “Instead, the press and others, all they want to focus on is an increasing case count.” As if what’s important is the simple number, rather than the effectiveness with which it’s been used to slow the case count and prevent deaths.
More than 120,000 people are dead. “We’ve done too good a job.”