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Biden campaign rips 'outrageous' Trump comments on coronavirus testing

Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenWoman accused of trying to sell Pelosi laptop to Russians arrested Trump gets lowest job approval rating in final days as president Trump moves to lift coronavirus travel restrictions on Europe, Brazil MORE's presidential campaign denounced President TrumpDonald TrumpGiuliani used provisional ballot to vote in 2020 election, same method he disparaged in fighting to overturn results Trump gets lowest job approval rating in final days as president Fox News' DC managing editor Bill Sammon to retire MORE after he quipped at a campaign rally Saturday night that he told White House officials to slow down testing for the novel coronavirus. 

Trump's comments came as he held his first rally in more than three months at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla. The president went ahead with the event even as coronavirus cases spiked in certain areas of the U.S., including Oklahoma, and health officials expressed fears about crowding hordes of people into an indoor arena.

But Trump dismissed those concerns during a 90-minute speech, calling his administration's response to the pandemic "phenomenal." He also said at one point that testing was a "double-edged sword" because an increase in testing could lead to a rise in positive results. 

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"When you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people. You’re going to find more cases. So I said to my people, 'Slow the testing down, please,'" Trump said. 

Kate Bedingfield, Biden's deputy campaign manager, said in a statement that Trump's remarks were "outrageous" and that they would be remembered "long after tonight's debacle of a rally."

"Trump just admitted that he’s putting politics ahead of the safety and economic well-being of the American people — even as we just recorded the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in almost two months and 20 million workers remain out of work," she said. 

"This virus has killed nearly 120,000 Americans and cost tens of millions their jobs, in large part because this president could not and would not mobilize testing as quickly as we needed it. To hear him say tonight that he has ordered testing slowed — a transparent attempt to make the numbers look better — is appalling," she added. 

Trump's remarks appeared to be made in jest. But he has previously expressed skepticism about the important of widespread testing, saying in May that it appeared to be "overrated." 

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Anthony FauciAnthony FauciCOVID-19 is a precursor for infectious disease outbreaks on a warming planet Sunday shows - Capital locked down ahead of Biden's inauguration Fauci: Approval of AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines likely 'weeks away' MORE, the nation's top infectious disease expert and a key member of the White House coronavirus task force, said last week that a recent jump in confirmed cases was not due to higher rates of testing. He also noted that the U.S. was still in the "first wave" of the outbreak and that people's behavior could be a cause of the recent surge. 

He also said that it’s “very risky” to congregate in places such as bars when “the location they are [in] indicates they shouldn’t be doing that.”

As of Sunday morning, the U.S. had reported 2.2 million confirmed coronavirus cases and about 120,000 deaths caused by it, according to a Johns Hopkins University database. The country reported about 30,000 new cases on Friday, the highest daily increase since May 1. 

Rep. Raja KrishnamoorthiSubramanian (Raja) Raja KrishnamoorthiDemocrat rips Sackler family, Purdue doctors during House questioning Enforcing the Presidential Records Act is essential for preserving our democracy's transparency, history Clinton offers congratulations over Elliot Page announcement MORE (D-Ill.), a member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, has vowed to pursue "answers" about Trump's comments on coronavirus testing. 

"The American people deserve to know if their president sabotaged efforts to detect and contain COVID-19 because he didn’t like the results," he said in a tweet late Saturday.