On Saturday, President Trump told America that he wants testing to be slowed down for the sake of craven political optics. This week he doubled down, and we’re painfully learning more about what that looks like.
Now, on the very same day that America marked a record high for new COVID-19 cases, the Trump Administration announced that it was going to quickly strip funding from all federal testing sites nationwide — even from seven testing centers in Texas, a rapidly growing hotspot.
President Trump thinks that if he just ignores COVID-19 it will go away. It’s the exact same tactic Trump has tried since I, and others, raised the alarm about the coronavirus in January, and it’s a defeatist mindset that’s left over 120,000 Americans dead and our economy reeling with almost 20 million people out of work.
Trump simply couldn’t be more wrong. We need more testing, not less, and we need faster, not slower. I proposed in March that we quickly stand up 500 federal testing sites, sites that are free, easily accessible, and in every state in our country. Instead of heeding my call, Trump — true to his word — is winding down funding for the few federal testing sites there are, and reports have shown that his administration is sitting on billions of dollars earmarked to boost testing and tracing.
Trump is fine with one federal testing center: at the White House to keep him and his aides safe, but he treats testing ordinary Americans like a political inconvenience, or worse, when it exposes the true extent of his failure to combat this virus.
We can’t stop the spread of this disease and save lives without more testing. We can’t safely re-open our economy and get Americans back to work without more testing. And, we can’t let our testing, and our response to this virus, be held hostage by Donald Trump’s whims and political calculations.