Pelosi: Trump 'engaged in distractions' amid 'total failure' on testing

Pelosi: Trump 'engaged in distractions' amid 'total failure' on testing
© Greg Nash

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMilitary bases should not be renamed, we must move forward in the spirit of reconciliation Pelosi: Trump 'himself is a hoax' Women must continue to persist to rise as political leaders of America MORE (D-Calif.) on Tuesday night renewed her criticism of what she called President TrumpDonald John TrumpSecret Service members who helped organize Pence Arizona trip test positive for COVID-19: report Trump administration planning pandemic office at the State Department: report Iran releases photo of damaged nuclear fuel production site: report MORE's "total failure when it comes to testing," saying that it has impeded the federal government's ability to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.

Speaking on "PBS NewsHour," Pelosi asserted that Trump has engaged in a series of "distractions" and "misrepresentations" in order to deflect responsibility for the handling of the virus's spread in the U.S. 

"What is impeding the federal government from addressing the COVID-19 crisis is the president’s denial, delay in all of this, and that has been deadly," Pelosi said. "We are insisting on the truth and the president is engaged in a series of misrepresentations to the American people and that is the impediment."

She went on to argue that Trump has refused to recognize science and the role of government in the nation's response to the pandemic, noting that his recent decision to impose limits on U.S. immigration was another distraction to avoid blame. 

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"[Trump is] always engaged in distractions like immigration, distractions like supporting people in the street," she said. "They're all distractions away from the fact, the known fact, that he's a total failure when it comes to testing."

Trump announced this week that he would suspend immigration into the U.S. amid the coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday, he outlined more details about the executive order, saying it would initially last for 60 days and apply to those seeking permanent residence.

The move comes as the U.S. has reported more than 823,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and roughly 44,800 deaths stemming from it as of Tuesday evening, according to a Johns Hopkins University database. 

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Trump has faced continued scrutiny over how his administration initially responded to the crisis, with many state officials regularly voicing concerns over a lack of testing and medical equipment. The administration promised tens of millions of tests would be available by the end of March, but only about 4 million tests have been conducted thus far.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said Sunday that testing shortages have remained the number one problem for states since the virus reached the U.S. He said that Maryland alone has increased its testing capacity by 5,000 percent in the last month, but that it still has yet to reach a level to comfortably reopen businesses. 

Trump has repeatedly dismissed criticism about testing, claiming on Monday that some governors were politicizing the issue.

“States, not the Federal Government, should be doing the Testing - But we will work with the Governors and get it done," he tweeted on Monday. 

Vice President Pence said earlier this week that the U.S. is averaging about 150,000 tests per day. Some health experts have said the figure needs to be in the millions before the U.S. can safely begin reopening portions of the economy.