During an interview with Gray D.C.’s Kyle Midura, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says the United States needs “more testing, not less” if it wants to tackle the coronavirus pandemic successfully.
McConnell’s comments come after President Donald Trump called widespread testing a “double-edged sword” during a free-wheeling speech at a Tulsa rally last weekend.
“Here’s the bad part,” Trump said at the time. “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!’”
Although the White House claimed the president was merely joking, Trump disputed that assertion. “I don’t kid,” he said this week.
“Aides said he was kidding. Then Tuesday, he said he doesn’t kid, and aides said that was sarcasm,” Midura said to McConnell. “Big picture, does the federal government need to scale up, hold stable, decrease? What are your thoughts on that front, sir?”
“We all need to scale up,” McConnell said. “We need more testing. Kentucky’s already received $100 million from the federal government again in a bill that was written in my office. We need to do more testing, not less, and that’s the key to getting us through this period. When we find out people are positive, they need to be quarantined so they don’t infect others.”
McConnell expressed hope that a coronavirus vaccine could be available by early next year––or possibly sooner.
“Ultimately, we get on top of this, and we have a vaccine, and there’s vaccine development going on at warp speed by a number of different pharmaceutical companies,” he said. “We’re hopeful we’ll get a vaccine sometime later this year or early next year. That’s the key to putting this whole pandemic in the rear view mirror so we get past it.”