White House adviser Peter Navarro asserted that President Donald Trump’s statement about slowing down coronavirus testing was meant in jest.
While speaking with CNN’s Jake Tapper on State of the Union on Sunday, Navarro pushed back when he was asked about Trump’s comments, which were made at Saturday’s Tulsa rally.
“I want to start on what the president said about coronavirus testing,” Tapper said, referring to the president’s assertion that he requested testing for COVID-19 be slowed down in order to make it appear as though there are fewer cases in the country. The audience can be heard laughing and cheering at the comment.
“That was tongue in cheek,” Navarro said. “Come on now. That was tongue in cheek, please.”
Tapper pointed out that the comment was concerning to health professionals and pushed back at Navarro.
“I don’t know that it was tongue in cheek, he has said similar things for months,” Tapper said.
Navarro dismissed the comment, saying there were bigger things to focus on, like the number of people that had contracted and died from the “China Wuhan virus.”
“I think testing is a very serious issue,” Tapper said.
Navarro responded that one of the important issues facing the nation was John Bolton’s upcoming book, which he says contains “highly classified” information.
Tapper pressed one more time and Navarro said that Trump’s comments were just a “light moment.”
Navarro later went on to suggest that COVID-19 was created in a lab.
Jake Tapper: Did I just hear you say China created this virus?
Peter Navarro: You did not hear me wrong. That virus was a product of the Chinese Communist Party.
Tapper: But you think it was purposely created?
Navarro: That is an open question. pic.twitter.com/gv4FBa2M0W
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) June 21, 2020
Trump’s comments while speaking at the 19,000-seat Bank of Oklahoma center have garnered plenty of pushback in the hours since he made them. As The Inquisitr previously reported, part of the concern is that the president has made comments suggesting that testing isn’t necessary repeatedly throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Initially, the Trump administration faced backlash for what was seen as a slow and inadequate rollout of testing as the virus began to take hold in the U.S.
In March and April, the commander-in-chief said on several occasions that states without a major outbreak don’t need widespread testing.
In mid-May, Trump called testing “overrated” and said that when you test, you end up finding more sick people. Without testing, he said, there would be fewer cases.
Trump has blamed the intensity of the coronavirus pandemic in the country on the high number of tests that the country is doing.
But experts say that widespread, reliable testing is key to re-opening the economy fully without creating a second wave of the virus.