President Donald Trump said “I don’t kid” when asked by a White House reporter on Tuesday if he was “just kidding” when he admitted Saturday that he had ordered his administration to slow down coronavirus testing because robust testing turns up too many cases of COVID-19. Trump’s White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany spent all day Monday defending him for making the “slow down” comment “in jest.”
“I don’t kid, let me make it clear,” Trump said to reporters Tuesday. “We have got the greatest testing program anywhere in the world. We test better than anybody in the world. Our tests are the best in the world, and we have the most of them. By having more tests, we find more cases. We did 25 million tests.”
Just now I asked the President if he was kidding when he said he told his people to slow down testing, which is how White House officials explained the comment.
He said, “I don’t kid.”
He also said again testing is a double-edged sword, and praised the job the U.S. has done.
— Weijia Jiang (@weijia) June 23, 2020
“When you do testing to that extent, you’re gonna find more people, you’re gonna find more cases. So I said to my people ‘slow the testing down, please,'” Trump said during his Tulsa rally Saturday.
Asked about his troubling remarks, McEnany denied that Trump was being serious and said that he was just joking.
“Any suggestion that testing has been curtailed is not rooted in fact,” McEnany said. “…It was a comment that he made in jest.”
Trump doubled down on his remarks on Tuesday.
“Here’s what I say: testing is a double-edged sword,” Trump said. “In one way, it tells you, you have cases. In other way, you find out where the cases are and you do a good job. We are doing a great job. We have never been credited for it. We’re doing the best testing job anywhere in the world … Nobody else has done that.”