Trump Seems to Think Talking About Testing Is Just a Favorite Media Pastime

Stefani Reynolds/ZUMA

The coronavirus is a rapidly developing news story, so some of the content in this article might be out of date. Check out our most recent coverage of the coronavirus crisis, and subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

At an industry roundtable on Wednesday, President Donald Trump once again doubled down on the claim that the state of coronavirus testing in the United States is all well and good—and that complaining about it is just a favorite media pastime.

“You don’t hear about ventilators, you don’t hear about masks, and you shouldn’t be hearing about testing—but that’s the last thing they can complain about, I guess,” Trump said. “If we do 2 million tests, they say, ‘Why don’t you do 3?’ If we do 3, they say, ‘How come you didn’t do 4?’ That’s like a dream for the media.”

Trump blamed his administration’s response on past presidents: “We had no ventilators, or very few, from previous administrations. We became the king of ventilators.” He added, “We had old fashioned tests that didn’t work, that were really obsolete,” but, “the testing has been incredible now, to a level that nobody’s seen.” (There were no COVID-19 tests before because it’s a new virus.)

Trump praised the states that have made plans to reopen their economies, making it sound like ongoing testing is just a personal pet project for governors rather than a critical public health need: “You have some governors that love the tests. You have others that like doing it a different way, an old fashioned way, with some testing. But we’re going maximum testing.”

As of yesterday, some 5.8 million Americans had been tested for coronavirus, according to the COVID Tracking Project—less than 2 percent of the US population. More than 60,000 Americans have died of the virus.

WE'RE TAKING A SHORT BREAK…

from the big banner at the top of our pages asking for the donations that make Mother Jones' nonprofit journalism possible. But we still have upwards of $300,000 to raise by June 30, whether we get there is going to come down to the wire, and we can't afford to come up short.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please join your fellow readers who pitch in from time to time to keep our democracy-advancing, justice-seeking journalism charging hard (and to help us avoid a real budget crunch as June 30 approaches and our fiscal year ends).

payment methods

WE'RE TAKING A SHORT BREAK…

from the big banner at the top of our pages asking for the donations that make Mother Jones' nonprofit journalism possible. But we still have upwards of $300,000 to raise by June 30, whether we get there is going to come down to the wire, and we can't afford to come up short.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please join your fellow readers who pitch in from time to time to keep our democracy-advancing, justice-seeking journalism charging hard (and to help us avoid a real budget crunch as June 30 approaches and our fiscal year ends).

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate