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Pelosi on Trump testing remarks: 'The American people are owed answers'

Pelosi on Trump testing remarks: 'The American people are owed answers'
© Bonnie Cash

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOklahoma man who videotaped himself with his feet on desk in Pelosi's office during Capitol riot released on bond House formally sends impeachment to Senate, putting Trump on trial for Capitol riot With another caravan heading North, a closer look at our asylum law MORE (D-Calif.) said Sunday that Americans are owed answers about President TrumpDonald TrumpSchumer: Impeachment trial will be quick, doesn't need a lot of witnesses Nurse to be tapped by Biden as acting surgeon general: report Schumer calls for Biden to declare climate emergency MORE's claim during his rally on Saturday that he asked aides to “slow the testing down.”

Pelosi called for answers from the White House coronavirus task force members who are expected to testify in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday. 

“The American people are owed answers about why President Trump wants less testing when experts say much more is needed,” she said in a statement.

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The Speaker’s comments come after Trump said during his Tulsa, Okla., rally Saturday that he called on his aides to reduce the speed of coronavirus testing because the higher number of identified cases made the country look bad. 

Trump appeared to make the comments in jest, and several White House and campaign officials have since said he was joking. But a number of Democrats criticized the remarks, including presumptive presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenBudowsky: A Biden-McConnell state of emergency summit DC might win US House vote if it tries Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman inks deal with IMG Models MORE’s campaign, which called them “outrageous.”

“Testing, tracing, treatment and social distancing are the only tools we have to stop the spread of the coronavirus, but President Trump orders his Administration to slow down the testing that saves lives,” Pelosi wrote. 

“The President’s efforts to slow down desperately needed testing to hide the true extent of the virus mean more Americans will lose their lives,” she added. 

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Pelosi closed her statement by saying that Trump is “ethically unfit and intellectually unprepared to lead” and requesting that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSchumer: Impeachment trial will be quick, doesn't need a lot of witnesses McConnell: Power-sharing deal can proceed after Manchin, Sinema back filibuster Budowsky: A Biden-McConnell state of emergency summit MORE (R-Ky.) allow the House-passed HEROES Act to go to the Senate floor.

During his rally, the president labeled testing a “double-edged sword.”

“We’ve tested now 25 million people. It’s probably 20 million people more than anybody else. Germany’s done a lot. South Korea’s done a lot,” he said. 

"Here’s the bad part," he added. "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!'"

The U.S. has confirmed more than 2.2 million cases of COVID-19, leading to at least 119,796 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.