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President Donald Trump brushed aside criticism over his retweeting of a claim that the Centers for Disease Control, health experts, and many in the media are being dishonest about the coronavirus.
In an interview with CBS News’ Catherine Herridge, the president was asked about his retweet of a post from former game show host Chuck Woolery, in which he claimed that there is a lot of “lying” going on regarding COVID-19 in regards to current ‘spikes’ being seen in several states.
“The most outrageous lies are the ones about Covid 19. Everyone is lying. The CDC, Media, Democrats, our Doctors, not all but most, that we are told to trust. I think it’s all about the election and keeping the economy from coming back, which is about the election. I’m sick of it,” he wrote.
The most outrageous lies are the ones about Covid 19. Everyone is lying. The CDC, Media, Democrats, our Doctors, not all but most ,that we are told to trust. I think it's all about the election and keeping the economy from coming back, which is about the election. I'm sick of it.
— Chuck Woolery (@chuckwoolery) July 13, 2020
Herridge asked the president about his retweet, noting, “You understand this is confusing for the public.”
“No,” the president responded quickly.
“Who do they believe?” Herridge replied. “You, or the medical professionals like Dr. [Anthony] Fauci?”
“I reposted a tweet that a lot of people feel,” the president responded. “But all I’m doing is making a comment. I’m just putting somebody’s voice out there. There are many voices. There are many people that think we shouldn’t do this kind of testing, because all we do, it’s a trap.”
President Trump has said before — in jest and in passing — that while he supports additional coronavirus testing, the more that are completed, the more ‘positives’ the country will record, which makes the outbreak look worse and the situation more dire than it is.
Last month at his Tulsa rally, the president touted the fact that his administration, working in conjunction with American industry, managed to both rapidly develop testing kits for COVID-19 but also get them distributed.
And in a tongue-in-cheek moment, he jokingly criticized the efficiency of the testing effort.
“You know, testing is a double-edged sword. We’ve tested now 25 million people,” Trump said. “Here’s the bad part. When you test when you do testing, to that extent, you’re going to find more people. You’re gonna find more cases.”
“So I said to my people, slow the testing down, please,” the president continued. “They test and they test. We had tests that people don’t know what’s going on. … We got another one over here. The young man’s 10 years old. He’s got the sniffles. He’ll recover in about 15 minutes. That’s a case.”
“Our Coronavirus testing is so much greater (25 million tests) and so much more advanced, that it makes us look like we have more cases, especially proportionally, than other countries. My message on that is very clear!” Trump later tweeted.
But Trump has mentioned in the past that the more people test positive for the coronavirus, the worse it makes the crisis look, despite the fact that experts have said a robust testing system is necessary for the nation to fully get back to normal in the wake of the pandemic. And his administration has been largely behind the push to quickly increase testing capacity in the U.S. as part of what Trump called a “phenomenal” response to the crisis.
Members of his administration defended Trump’s comments, including Fauci, who told a House panel late last month, “I, as a member of the task force and my colleagues on the task force to my knowledge — I know for sure — but to my knowledge, none of us have ever been told to slow down on testing. That just is a fact.”
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