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.
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.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com