White House COVID-19 Screening Suddenly Becomes Voluntary, Temp Checks Disappear
During his Tulsa rally, President Donald Trump declared that he had asked for COVID-19 testing to decrease, because more testing equals more results, and positive cases, he says, make him look bad. The White House later said this statement was “tongue-in-cheek.” However, it appears Trump may be serious about reducing testing of those around him. According to White House press correspondents, testing sites at the president’s residence are coming down, and screening will now be voluntary.
Donald Trump has railed against testing throughout the pandemic crisis, saying that testing is increasing the number of positive cases. At his rally in Tulsa, he even declared that he’d ordered for testing to be slowed down, so that there would be fewer cases. Later he tweeted a ‘clarification,’ saying that his message has been clear: so much testing makes it look like we have more cases.
Our testing is so much bigger and more advanced than any other country (we have done a great job on this!) that it shows more cases. Without testing, or weak testing, we would be showing almost no cases. Testing is a double edged sword – Makes us look bad, but good to have!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 15, 2020
Our Coronavirus testing is so much greater (25 million tests) and so much more advanced, that it makes us look like we have more cases, especially proportionally, than other countries. My message on that is very clear!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2020
Throughout the past months, anyone getting close to the president has been expected to go through screening for the virus. Press conferences have typically involved social distancing and masks. However, according to WHite House news correspondents, this has been changing.
Earlier this month, Jim Acosta, who covers the White House for CNN, shared that chairs had been moved closer together in the Rose Garden after initially being set up for social distancing.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) June 5, 2020
Now, Monica Alba, a correspondent for NBC, says that the tents that were set up for screening journalists as they arrived at the White House are being dismantled, and there was no temperature check or regular screening.
For months during the pandemic, the White House has been doing temperature checks & asking health Qs of all journalists entering the grounds. For some reason, that wasn’t the case today. Tents normally staffed during business hours for these screenings are being taken down. pic.twitter.com/wWvZE9lN5m
— Monica Alba (@albamonica) June 22, 2020
Another White House correspondent, Kaitlan Collins for CNN, says she’s been told that White House staff got an email that there would no longer be screenings at the entrances, and all screenings would be voluntary.
White House staff got an email yesterday saying that temperature checks are now voluntary and would no longer be conducted at the entrances, I'm told. https://t.co/W4IAccCdhG
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) June 22, 2020
SIx staffers who went ahead to set up Trump’s Tulsa rally tested positive for the coronavirus. According to the New York Times, the president was angry that this information was made public.
Removing testing sites at the White House will not prevent the spread of COVID-19, but may reduce public knowledge of any cases in or around the President’s immediate circle.