Donald Trump On Slowing Testing: “I Don’t Kid.”

Donald Trump was asked Tuesday whether he was joking or kidding around when he said, during his campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma Saturday night, that he wanted to slow down testing for COVID-19. Since that statement, White House officials have said Trump was joking or speaking tongue-in-cheek or just trying to illustrate that testing finds cases. However, Trump asserted firmly Tuesday, “I don’t kid.”

Donald Trump says he's not kidding about slowing testing
[Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]

Trump can be seen responding to a reporter in this C-SPAN clip. Asked, “Were you just kidding when you said you were slowing down testing?” Trump responds, “I don’t kid.”

During his Tulsa rally, Trump said that testing was finding so many cases it was making his administration look bad, so he told them to slow it down. “I said to my people, slow the testing down please!”

Trump was widely criticized for suggesting that testing should be slowed down, since it’s considered to be one of the tools that will help prevent spread, by allowing those infected to self-quarantine and protect others. His Director of Communications, Tim Murtaugh, appeared on CNN to explain that this was a joke, just a tongue-in-cheek statement intended to illustrate that more testing means finding more cases.

However, according to Trump’s own words, he doesn’t kid. He has called testing a “double-edged sword” repeatedly, complaining that being able to identify how many cases there are in the United States makes his administration look bad. According to the New York Times, expert epidemiologists’ analysis of testing data says that if lockdown measures had been implemented sooner, the Trump administration could have saved as many as 36k lives.

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