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House Republicans praise Trump for tests he said were 'up to the states'

Donald Trump previously claimed testing issues were a ‘local thing.’

By Josh Israel - May 07, 2020
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Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA)

House Republicans are praising Donald Trump for hitting a coronavirus testing milestone this week, ignoring the fact that Trump has repeatedly rejected responsibility for the effort.

The United States passed the 7 million mark on total coronavirus tests Sunday, after weeks of shortages and supply issues. GOP lawmakers seized the moment as a historic victory for Trump, despite those things.

“Under President Trump’s leadership, the United States leads the world in COVID-19 testing BY FAR,” Rep. Carol Miller (R-WV) wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday. “We are a safer country thanks to President Donald J. Trump!”

Georgia Rep. Doug Collins was equally effusive in his praise, writing on Facebook, “Thanks to President Donald J. Trump’s leadership, the United States has completed over seven million coronavirus tests — more than any other nation!”

The United States has not conducted more tests “than any other nation” on a per-capita basis. As FactCheck.org notes, “[T]he U.S. trails many countries in terms of testing on a per-capita basis … Worldometer, for example, shows the U.S. doing 18,216 tests per 1 million people, as of April 29. But that was a lower figure than those of 41 other countries.”

Pennsylvania Rep. Dan Meuser, meanwhile, credited Trump this week with “dramatically” increasing testing and “getting America safely back to work.”

“Increased testing is an essential component in getting America safely back to work,” he wrote on Facebook. “Thanks to the Trump Administration, the United States has dramatically increased our total COVID-19 tests and that number continues to rise everyday.”

Indiana Rep. Trey Hollingsworth claimed the administration had streamlined efforts through deregulation.

“Thanks to the Trump Administration’s regulatory reduction and prioritization of testing, the private sector’s speed and skills to create the needed tests, and the collaboration between the two, America has conducted more than twice as many tests as the next leading country,” he wrote in a post on his official Facebook page.

Trump, meanwhile, has said a number of times that he and the federal government are not responsible for coronavirus testing.

“It’s going to be up to the states to use that capability,” he said at a White House briefing on April 17. “The states have local points where they can go and the governor can call the mayors and the mayors can call representatives and everything is perfect and that’s the way it should work and always should work.”

Days later, Trump once again shrugged off responsibility for testing, saying it was a “local thing.”

“The governors wanted to have total control over the opening of their states. But now they want to have us, the federal government, do the testing,” he said at a briefing. “Testing is local. You can’t have it both ways. Testing is a local thing. It’s very important. It’s great. But it’s a local thing.”

Additionally, testing shortages remain a major problem in the United States, one that experts say likely created the COVID-19 crisis itself.

“We’ve been woefully behind this entire time. And I think what most Americans need to know is the reason we are shut down — our economy is shut down — is because we’ve had inadequate testing,” Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told CNN last week. “We believe we need to be at at least 500,000 tests a day. And most people criticize us for being too low. Other people think it’s a lot more than that.”

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told Politico last month that the nation would need up to 3.8 million tests each week in order to properly assess the scale of the outbreak and develop a workable plan to reopen the country.

That has not happened. Early test kits shipped to the states were deemed faulty, rendering them useless, and limited supplies have meant that, contrary to Trump’s promises, not everyone who wants a test can get one.

According to the COVID Tracking Project, which collects the most recent testing data from each state, the number of new daily tests has been under 300,000 a day nationally for nearly two weeks.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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