Donald Trump was asked on Tuesday morning whether or not he was joking when he commented this weekend about ordering the slowing down of testing for COVID-19. The president responded, “I don’t kid,” according to CBS News‘ Weijia Jang. The reporter posted the exchange on Twitter.
Jang went on to say that after making it clear that his comments were not said in jest, he repeated the claim that testing is a double-edged sword. The president has long said that testing makes the United States look bad. He has said that increased testing has caused an increase in positive results that is making the country look bad.
The debate about whether or not slowing down testing was a joke comes from Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday. At one point in his speech, Trump began talking about how the coronavirus numbers continue to go up. He once again made comments about how the increased testing is the problem, adding that he told his people they needed to slow the testing down.
When the media began reporting on these claims, members of the Trump administration said the president was merely joking about telling people to slow down testing.
As The Inquisitr previously reported, one CNN anchor pushed back on the White House downplaying Trump’s words as just a joke. Brianna Keilar asked Tim Murtaugh, the director of communications for Trump’s campaign, whether he believed such a joke was “funny.” Earlier in the interview, Murtaugh even claimed members of the media at networks like CNN simply didn’t have a good sense of humor.
The president’s confirmation that he wasn’t kidding directly disputes those members of the administration who were pushing the narrative that it was a joke. Earlier on Tuesday, Trump took to Twitter and again voiced his belief that less testing would mean lower infection rates.
“Cases are going up in the U.S. because we are testing far more than any other country, and ever expanding. With smaller testing we would show fewer cases.”
Trump’s comments appear to be the first time the president specifically talked about just what he meant during his campaign rally. While there have been several different staffers, both from the White House and Trump’s campaign, that have said what he was doing was just telling a joke, this is the first time someone has asked him directly.
Earlier this week, White House officials did dispute any order to slow testing was given.