Pelosi on Trump testing remarks: ‘The American people are owed answers’
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Sunday that Americans are owed answers about President Trump’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.
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 Biden’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.
Testing, tracing, treatment & social distancing are the only tools we have to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The President’s efforts to slow down testing to hide the true extent of the virus means more Americans will lose their lives. https://t.co/rMoe3Rg48M
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) June 21, 2020
Pelosi closed her statement by saying that Trump is “ethically unfit and intellectually unprepared to lead” and requesting that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (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.