A White House adviser said President Trump’s comments about a slow-down in coronavirus testing during a campaign rally in Oklahoma were clearly “tongue in cheek.”
“That was tongue in cheek,” trade adviser Peter Navarro said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “Come on now. That was tongue in cheek, please.”
CNN host Jake Tapper pushed back, saying testing is a “very serious issue.”
“It was a light moment, OK?” Navarro responded.
Pressed further, Navarro said, “all right, we’re 60 seconds into a tongue in cheek thing, asked and answered.”
“I think what’s important going on in this world today are things like John Bolton leaking, publishing a book. Here’s the breaking news for you,” he continued.
The president, speaking at his first campaign rally since March on Saturday, told the crowd in Tulsa that coronavirus testing is a “double-edged sword.”
“We have tested now 25 million people. It is probably 20 million people more than anybody else,” he said. “Here’s the bad part. When you test to that extent, you are going to find more people, find more cases. So I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down please.’ They test and they test.”
Acting Department of Homeland Security Director Chad Wolf on Sunday said Trump’s remarks were brought on by frustration that the media fails to cover his accomplishments.
“I think that 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,” he said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
“Instead, the press and others, all they want to focus on is an increasing case count. And we know that that’s going to occur when you test individuals more and more and more.”
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