At President Trump’s first White House briefing since April 27, Mr. Trump tried to address multiple questions from reporters about the disparity in coronavirus testing capacity in American workplaces before abruptly cutting the briefing short.
Multiple White House officials have tested positive for the coronavirus in the last few days, and every person who comes into close contact with the president and vice president is tested. But that capacity still doesn’t exist for most Americans returning to work. Mr. Trump said that people who want to get tested can be tested, but added they shouldn’t necessarily want to be tested.
“If people want to get tested, they get tested. We have the greatest capacity in the world. Not even close. If people want to get tested, they get tested. But for the most part they shouldn’t want to get tested. There’s no reason. They feel good, they don’t have sniffles, they don’t have sore throats they don’t have any problem.”
The Coronavirus Task Force announced Monday that the federal government will be giving $11 billion to states to expand their testing capacity, as states look to reopen safely.
The president, who insisted last week that this is not a “mission accomplished” moment as tens of millions of Americans lie dead, said Monday that, “we have met the moment and we have prevailed.” Asked to clarify that comment, the president said he meant the U.S. has prevailed in regards to testing.
The president also confirmed he was the one who required a new mask-wearing policy at the White House. Mr. Trump said Monday that he feels no vulnerability whatsoever, despite the coronavirus cases among staff.
Pence told governors earlier in the day that the administration is recommending that more than 1 million nursing home residents and staff be tested in the coming weeks, part of a push to increase testing for COVID-19 across the country.
Admiral Brett Giroir, a member of the Coronavirus Task Force, claimed everyone who needs a test can get a test, slightly different from the president’s verbiage that everyone who wants a test can get one.
CBS News White House correspondent Weijia Jiang asked the president why he views the pandemic response as a global competition when so many Americans are dying each day.
“Well they’re losing their lives everywhere in the world,” Mr. Trump responded. “And maybe that’s a question you should ask China. Don’t ask me, ask China that question, OK? When you ask them that question you may get a very unusual answer.”
Jiang, who is Chinese-American, followed up to ask the president why he told her she should ask China. Mr. Trump answered “I’m not saying it specifically to anybody, I’m saying it to anybody that would ask a nasty question like that” and then tried to move on to other questions before leaving the briefing.