Administration

Trump says he’d help Biden get access to rapid COVID-19 tests

President Trump said Friday he would help presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden gain access to rapid tests for the coronavirus if his campaign asked for it, allowing the former vice president to resume travel.

“Yes, 100 percent,” Trump said during a “Fox & Friends” phone interview. “I would love to see him get out of the basement so he can speak.”

Trump then suggested that Biden’s public appearances would help his own reelection bid and claimed Biden’s campaign did not want him to emerge from the basement studio where he has been conducting news interviews and staging campaign appearances.

“Every time he talks it’s like a good thing,” the president said.

“They don’t want him to come out,” Trump continued. “I’ll give them the test immediately. We would have it to them today.”

Representatives from the Biden campaign did not immediately return a request for comment about the president’s remarks.

Biden has shifted to a digital campaign amid the coronavirus pandemic, conducting appearances from his basement studio since March. The campaign has focused much of its messaging on criticizing Trump’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The outbreak has also sidelined Trump’s jam-packed political rallies and forced his campaign to shift to digital events in order to keep voters engaged.

The Hill reported last week that Biden’s campaign is discussing how to get the former vice president out of confinement and in public in a way that is safe.

Both Biden and Trump, at ages 77 and 73, respectively, fall into the older category of Americans who are more at risk for developing severe symptoms from the virus. Trump resumed travel this week with a trip to Phoenix, and the White House tested everyone who met with him as a precautionary measure.

Trump has signaled he would like to resume his political rallies before the November elections, something that could be complicated given the high risk large gatherings pose to spreading the virus and triggering future outbreaks.

In the meantime, the White House has been testing people who come in close proximity to Trump and Vice President Pence, in addition to implementing temperature checks for anyone entering the White House grounds. Trump said Thursday he would be tested daily after a military member who serves as his valet tested positive for the virus.

The White House has relied on a federal supply of rapid point-of-care tests to administer to the president and others meeting with him.

Trump previously said he would supply rapid tests to Congress after the Capitol’s attending physician raised concerns about testing capacity, but the president’s offer was rejected by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who both said resources should be deployed first to health workers on the front lines.

Updated at 11:34 a.m.

Tags Coronavirus Donald Trump Joe Biden Mike Pence Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi

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