Donald Trump held a press conference on Monday meant to declare mission accomplished on coronavirus testing, but it was a complete dumpster fire that led to the president storming off the stage.
The overall theme of Trump’s event, before it went up in flames, was that coronavirus testing in America is better than it is anywhere in the world – a bald-faced lie.
As MSNBC’s Ari Melber noted following the president’s briefing, the United States doesn’t even rank in the top five in global coronavirus testing.
“The United States is sixth in testing,” the MSNBC host said. “While sixth is not last, it is far from first.”
“Many people … still cannot get tests on demand depending on their situation,” he added.
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) May 12, 2020
The newest claim, though, from the president came in today’s late afternoon press conference, and let me tell you first, it’s false. So before we even air a small portion of it, I want you to have the facts. Number one, many other countries were hit by this virus before the United States, giving this nation more time to adjust and prepare. Fact number two you need to know, and you may have heard about it. Medical experts were warning back in the early days of January and February about key ways to prepare, as well as the import of testing. If you watch the news, you’ve heard all about testing. The Trump administration initially largely ignored some of those things at the top. And then three, the United States still lags in testing per citizen. That’s the standard of measure when you compare countries. So if you look at the list tonight, you have Denmark actually leading the world in testing. Then Italy, which was hit hard and early, followed by New Zealand, Germany, Canada, our neighbors to the north with universal health care, and then thanks partly to a recent increase, the United States is sixth in testing. And while sixth is not last, it is far from first. And many people, as I’m sure you know, still cannot get tests on demand depending on their situation.
Another day, another set of lies
The fact that Donald Trump held this press conference on Monday – as disastrous as it turned out to be – is a clear sign that even he recognizes his administration’s failure in enacting a national coronavirus testing policy.
Without such a policy in place, it will be difficult – if not impossible – to reopen the economy that Trump so desperately wants to reopen without causing another wave of infection and death.
What the president is trying to do is sidestep those inconvenient details and simply talk his way into a “mission accomplished” moment on testing, even though the U.S. is still lagging behind many other countries and thousands of Americans are still dying.
Donald Trump has largely given up trying to fight the coronavirus. Instead, he’s trying to spin this disaster into something he can run on in November.
Like usual, the facts don’t back up his spin.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.