Trump claims that criticism of the US' testing capacity is 'mostly partisan' despite governors from both parties asking for more resources
- Trump claimed at a Monday White House
coronavirustask force briefing that criticism of the United States' testing capacity for COVID-19 is "partisan," despite governors of both parties asking for more help.
- The US has improved its testing capacity to be relatively on par with other major countries' per-capita testing rates, and has now tested 4 million people, but major gaps and lack of supplies remain.
- "It's not bipartisan, it's mostly partisan, but more importantly it's incorrect," Trump said when asked why he interprets criticism over the US' issues with testing as a personal attack.
- But multiple Republican governors have asked the federal government to help them increase capacity.
- "It's not accurate to say there's plenty of testing out there, and the governors should just get it done," Republican Gov. Larry Hogan said on Sunday. "That's not just being straightforward."
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The US' testing capacity was hampered for several weeks by major delays, problems and errors in initial coronavirus tests, and a lack of availability of crucial equipment and supplies. And Trump has, at various points, both claimed responsibility for the advances in the US' testing while blaming governors, tweeting, "The States have to step up their TESTING!" on Friday.At the briefing, coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx and Assistant Secretary for Health & Human Services Brett Giroir laid out some of the steps the administration has taken to improve the availability of testing, including opening up more laboratories and improving the supply chain for tests.
The US has since improved its testing capacity to be relatively on par with other major countries' per-capita testing rates and has now tested 4 million people. But major gaps remain, leaving governors frustrated.In Sunday television appearances, Democratic Govs. Ralph Northam of Virginia and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan both said they lacked the necessary supplies and equipment and needed to test, even if more labs are now open.
"We could double or even triple the number of tests we're doing daily if we had the swabs and reagents," Whitmer told CNN's Jake Tapper. "It would really be incredible if the federal government would use the Defense Production Act to make those swabs and reagents."And Maryland's Republican Governor Larry Hogan slammed Trump and Vice President Mike Pence's claims that states "have the capacity to do a sufficient amount of testing" to start re-opening and Trump's insinuations that governors aren't working hard enough to get more tests "absolutely false." (Earlier, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam called the administration's claim "delusional.") "It's not accurate to say there's plenty of testing out there, and the governors should just get it done," Hogan said."That's not just being straightforward."
Most recently, Hogan took matters into his own hands by, over the course of several weeks, directly negotiating the purchasing of 500,000 coronavirus test kits for his state from a South Korean company.
When PBS NewsHour correspondent Yamiche Alcindor asked Trump why he, in recent days, has interpreted criticism of the US' lack of testing as a personal attack on him and has claimed such critiques are only coming from Democrats."It's not bipartisan, it's mostly partisan, but more importantly it's incorrect," Trump said. "You have the maps with so many different locations. As an example, Governor Hogan, he didn't really know, it was very obvious to those listening on the call, he really didn't know about the federal laboratory. If he did know about it he would have been happy."
But as ABC News reported, Hogan specifically said on a call with Trump and a number of governors that he contacted the list of laboratories the Trump administration provided, but was unable to utilize ones under the jurisdiction of the federal government or the Department of Defense.
"We have tests coming out perhaps over the next two weeks that will blow the whole industry away," Trump said. "We have tremendous testing, tremendous testing capability."Trump then claimed that criticism of his administration's response to the COVID-19 crisis was motivated by a desire to get him out of office, saying, "we're dealing with
In addition to Hogan's criticism, Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio said "we really need help" from the FDA to bulk up the state's testing capacity in a Sunday appearance on NBC's "Meet The Press.""I could probably double, maybe even triple testing in Ohio virtually overnight if the FDA would prioritize companies that are putting a slightly different formula together for the extraction reagent kit," DeWine said. "We really need help, if anyone from the FDA is watching, this would really take our capacity up literally overnight."
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